In the tragic flooding in the sacred Himalayan Kedarnath Valley in June 2013, tens of thousands of people lost their lives. They couldn’t escape as Mother Ganga’s waters rose to heights unseen in over 100 years, flowing brown and fast: with forces greater than a speeding train. Countless lives were lost, as were property, possessions and hopes. A large percentage of those killed were boys and men, for they were the ones out working during the summer, tourist high-season in the sacred pilgrimage area. Therefore, the tragedy left behind innumerable young widows and girls whose fathers, brothers and uncles were killed.
Divine Shakti Foundation joined hands with other organization, NGOs, government administration, volunteers and doctors to provide not only emergency, immediate relief, but also permanent eco-friendly rehabilitation and reconstruction for surviving villagers.
Additionally Divine Shakti Foundation has helped create several programs which uplift and empower women and children who have survived this tragedy, as well as help care for and protect the animals affected by the floods.
Further, we are in the midst of constructing schools and women’s vocational training & empowerment centers in the affected regions.
Divine Shakti Foundation has rebuilt two schools – Brightland International School in Chandrapuri and Goswami Ganesh Dutt Saraswati Vidya Mandir in Laksheshwar, Uttarakhand – which were washed away during the floods.
These schools are empowered with green technologies such as water filters, bio-toilets and green education, and basic sanitation and hygiene will be covered thoroughly in the classes and after school village empowerment programs.
Further, the school buildings serve as women’s vocational training centers in the afternoon/evening hours after school finishes, so that the women and older girls of the village can receive training and marketable skills.
MY TREE/MID-DAY FRUIT PROGRAM
The My Tree/ Mid-Day Fruit Program is enabling schools to present each child with his or her own fruit-bearing tree. As the tree is nurtured by the students on school grounds, they learn valuable lessons about the wonders of nature. Later, they will experience the joys of harvesting their own fruits, which they can enjoy fresh from the tree. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.
THE GIFT OF WATER, SANITATION & HYGIENE IN SCHOOLS
Every day, some 1,200 children in India die due to the lack of access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). For this reason, Divine Shakti Foundation and Global Interfaith WASH Alliance are working to bring clean water filtration systems and proper, eco-friendly toilets for every school in the state. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.
Just 25 kilometres from Kedarnath, the sacred spiritual pilgrimage site which was the centre of the Uttarakhand floods last year, Divine Shakti Foundation has constructed a new vocational training/ livelihoods centre. The centre will train 100 families from the region to spin and weave shawls, knit sweaters as well as other skills which will be marketable in the textile industry.
Additionally, Divine Shakti Foundation is partnering with institutions and companies to create buy-back programmes so that the women’s products are ensured a market in which to be sold, which in turn will guarantee them a steady income to sustain their families.
DSF is also planning to build three additional livelihoods centres in the flood affected regions, benefiting some 500 families. It will also be working to create Centres of Excellence for the trained women to gain further skills in the industry so that they can not only survive but thrive.
Divine Shakti Foundaiton has started vocational training programs in disaster-affected areas that will enable struggling disaster survivors to escape poverty, including:
BIOSAND WATER PURIFICATION SYSTEMS
Taking the lead in producing biosand water purifications systems, which will be placed in affected areas’ schools, will be women, including widowed survivors of Uttarakhand’s 2013 floods, so that they may be uplifted from poverty. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.
NECTAR OF HOPE PROGRAMME
Through the Nectar of Hope Programme survivors of the Uttarakhand flooding will be given training in organic farming, a chance to restore hope to the affected families. They will be taught skills so that they may learn how to earn a living from their animals, such as how to producenatural medicine and improved milk.
They will also learn organic gardening techniques that will be accentuated by the fertilizer naturally provided by their cows. In such a way, family incomes can be earned and healthy food can be put on the table for growing children. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.
MY TREE/MID-DAY FRUIT PROGRAMME
Through the My Tree/ Mid-Day Fruit Program, which enables schoolchildren to plant and nurture their own fruit-bearing tree, mothers will be empowered to add to their household incomes through the creation of Women’s Empowerment Cooperatives, which will enable them to produce, package and market wonderful products made from the uneaten fruits of their children’s trees. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.
REBUILDING THE VILLAGE TEMPLE & CHOWK IN PARODI
The villagers of Parodi unanimously decided the first reconstruction activity of their destroyed village would be the reconstruction of the village temple and chowk. Together, the villageworked on the design, taking into account not only the design but also their religious beliefs and traditions, and events to be held in the chowk. By this reconstruction, they not only rebuilt their temple and chowk, but rebuilt the sense of community and hope.
SMRITI VAN PLANTATION
The International Memorial Garden (Smriti Van) will have indigenous and sacred trees planted in memory of the departed souls from the tragic 2013 floods in Uttarakhand. It will also be developed as an eco-tourism location where people can be with Nature as well as be inspired to protect and preserve the environment, and in so doing abate natural disasters and save countless, precious lives.
REBUILDING THE FLOURMILL IN PARODI
Following the flooding and landslides, the traditional water-run flourmill in Parodi and its connecting water channel collapsed, forcing villagers to have to walk to neighboring villages to get flour. 75 meters of water channel, the flourmill and its connecting mechanism all needed to be rebuilt. In ints rebuild, its connecting mechanism’s efficiency was improved and upgraded, making it capable of multi-purpose use in power generation and running farming equipment.
SAVING STREET COWS
As an added component of our work, relocation services are also being provided for ailing street cows who have no homes and desperately require veterinary care. For too long, these animals have been forced to graze on solid waste, ingesting plastic bags and toxic materials in their search for food. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.