Tsunami Rebuilding Efforts in India

Completed Development Projects

Primary School and Dormitory Campus - Karankadu

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With the support of Drop in the Ocean (UK) and L’Oreal and in collaboration with the ClaretiansFamily Care Foundation undertook an educational building project in Karankadu village in the very south of the country.

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Family Care Foundation and its partners constructed a Children’s Home adjacent to a new primary school, allowing more local students to study and have an opportunity to complete their SSLC 10th standard exam, which qualifies them for further education and/or better jobs.

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This campus thus provides a dramatic change for students in this village and the 12 surrounding ones, depressed areas that suffered from a lower literacy rating.  

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Students from 12 neighboring villages attend a high school in Karankadu, where FCF Project Partners were able to enhance the quality of the facilities through the construction of a Children’s Home in place of substandard housing, as well as supplying the first computers for the school.

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Despite the many external disadvantages, the school had nevertheless secured 100% pass results in the secondary examination conducted by the Government of Tamil Nadu. We believe even greater things are now in store for the students and families of the area.

Permanent Housing Units - Kovalam

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After the tsunami swept away countless fishing villages along the coast, many families were displaced further inland, away from their traditional habitat, which also allowed certain interests beachfront property where they could construct commercial condominiums and housing.

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When our FCF Project partner happened upon Kovalam, a fishing village south of Chennai, we discovered that 18 months after the tsunami, the fishermen who had lost their homes still had not received any government help to rebuild them.

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So in Kovalam, Family Care Foundation, with the support of Verizon, undertook building permanent housing units for villagers whose houses were washed away in the tsunami, constructing these on their original sites.

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We proposed that we could rebuild a limited number of houses, and then continue on a further phase if and when funds became available.  Meanwhile, we encouraged the elders of the village to meet and decide on the specifications of the housing, as well as identifying the most needy families. This way the decision of who received each of the new houses would be made by the panchiayat (village council) without us having to be responsible for these local politics.

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Modeling the new housing on studies done on the houses that withstood the tsunami, the new design includes a filled foundation 4 feet off the ground, with rebar reinforced piles that go 14 feet into the sand. Additionally, the placement of the doors and windows had been determined from studies of remaining houses amongst the piles of rubble, which layouts were least prone to destruction.

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When the houses were completed, our partners expressed their satisfaction with both the quality of the work, and the warm appreciation of the beneficiaries. At the end of the inauguration function, the head of the village women’s group expressed that they would be honored if we would consider ourselves a part of their village.

Bore Wells and Desalination - Cuddalore

The Cuddalore Desalination Project has bettered the lives of 160 farming families in four villages, as well as an additional 380 farm workers, and 400 local merchants who sell to the farming community.

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When the Tsunami struck, these farmers lost their crops and were unable to plant again, as the earth was completely salinated. FCF’s Project Partner, in collaboration with the Claretians, was able to conduct the desalination of 180 acres of farmland through an organic 5-step process.

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A bore well was dug for each of nine groups of farmers, and pump houses built to protect the electrical unit, as well as act as storage for the fertilizer and farming implements.

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Now that the farmers are able to irrigate their fields, the local community benefits from three crops a year where previously they could only harvest one crop a year. And these bore wells will continue to profit the population for generations to come.

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Excerpts from log of FCF Director of Programs Grant Montgomery, written while checking on tsunami rebuilding projects that Family Care Foundation (FCF) is involved with in the south of India:

Day 1 – After taking a day to acclimate to INDIA, flew from Chennai (Madras) to Trichy (officially called Tiruchchirappalli) in the south, met FCF Project Partners and drove 4 hours to Karankadu Village, located near the very tip of India, across the strait from Sri Lanka.

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Viewed the Primary School and Dormitory that FCF is building, with the support of Drop in the Ocean (UK) and L’Oreal, and in collaboration with the Claretians.

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Below, you see some of the children having their school classes outside on the ground, since the dark, dingy 100-year-old structure they normally use for school is closed.

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Day 2 – Spent most of the day driving up the coast to next work site, an irrigation project near Cuddalore that FCF participated in. The tsunami had wiped out crops and left the ground so salinated nothing would grow. Through a 5-step process, beginning with drilling fresh water wells, and flushing and twice neutralizing the earth and then adding gypsum, the soil can now accommodate crops again.

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The nine wells that were dug support 180 acres, and will support farming families for years to come. And instead of just ONE crop a year, the wells and irrigation system result in THREE crops per year for the farmers!

Day 3 - Visited a school that we renovated after the floods, and added 8 new classrooms to, as well as bathroom and shower facilities etc.

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1200 children from local fishing villages presently attend school in these premises.

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Day 4 – Continuing up the coast of tsunami territory, attended the inaugurations of new FCF-funded facilities built in Pondicherry. First the addition of a 60' x 40' "auditorium"-cum-all-purpose-room constructed at an orphanage run by Franciscan nuns, which houses 220 orphans full-time, and also teaches another 1800 children from local fishing villages on a daily basis (Grades 1 - 10).

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I also attended the inauguration of a medical facility that FCF sponsored, which now has a 24/7 nurse on duty, plus a doctor that spends two days a week. All consultations, treatment and medicines are provided free of charge to the surrounding community.

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Day 5 – Now back in Chennai (Madras).

This afternoon meet with village elders here south of Chennai to discuss some permanent housing units we are building for villagers whose houses were damaged and/or washed away in the tsunami. (All such business must traditionally go through the village council).

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We are building houses for roughly $4200 each. After doing studies on the houses that withstood the tsunami, these houses we're building are designed with a filled foundation 4 feet off the ground, with rebar reinforced piles that go 14 feet into the sand.

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tsunami_169.jpgBeneficiary in front of the hut that her family
has been living in since losing her house 
to the tsunami.

tsunami_170.jpgSame beneficiary in front of the housing 
construction being built for her by 
Family Care Foundation.

During the past week, we had a structural engineer check the foundations laid thus far, before we go further. And although the villagers are impatiently awaiting their new housing, we feel it is a necessary delay and investment of time.

tsunami_183.jpgA whole family cooks, eats, and lives in 
this lean-to, courtesy of neighbor.
tsunami_184.jpgLikewise a family lives in this palm hut, on 
the site of their destroyed house.

On the other hand, many of these families lost everything and have been living in thatched huts for going on two years now, so obviously are hoping the construction time will be as short as possible.

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FCF is among the international agencies building permanent housing in this area of India, and just having begun this particular project some months back we are learning the ropes of working with local contractors and all. (Long story, but we are now on our second contractor on this undertaking!)

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To assist tsunami victims at the grassroots level, please donate online: Tsunami Fund

FCF assures that 100% of all donations designated for tsunami 
relief will be used for tsunami relief efforts in the disaster areas,
bypassing all other overhead.