The Goldman Environmental Award funds received by Rashida Bee and Champa Devi Shukla was jointly donated for the welfare if the victims of the Bhopal Gas Disaster. In 2004 the Chingari Trust was created as a blueprint for utilizing the funds and administering its implementation for the welfare of gas victims. To preserve the trusts gender identity, it was decided that all of its trustees would be women. The trust was registered in New Delhi on March 22, 2005.
The Chingari Trust is a non-profit, non-political organization that uses all of its available resources for the welfare of community members. As a charitable trust, Chingari does not participate in political activities, as its main purpose is to work with the victims of the Bhopal Gas Disaster and local communities that are affected by the continuous industrial hazards present as a result of the abandoned Union Carbide factory.
More specifically, the Chingari Trust supports marginalized sections of society, including women and children (with special reference to victims of corporate crime) without discrimination on the basis of caste, creed or religion.
One of the first major achievements of the Chingari Trust has been its creation of a database of children special needs. This database has been continually updated over the past 3 years of its operation. By September 2010, more than 300 children with various types of disabilities—as a result of their parent's exposure to gas, contaminated water, or both—have been registered with us, and 120 are receiving treatment in our rehabilitation center. For some children, free medicine, and expenses for treatment are provided by the Trust.
These children are sent, along with their parents, for regular checkups and treatment at local hospitals and to get the necessary documents/certificates required to access various government schemes for their benefit. The Chingari Trust is also exploring ways in which to provide psychological support and counseling for these children so that they can live normal lives within their communities. Support includes physiotherapy, speech therapy, teaching sign language, and reading and writing in Braille at the Chingari Rehabilitation Center.
In 2004 Chingari Trust was started by Rasheeda Bee and Champa Devi. It was decided that all the trustees would be womens. The Trust was started to formulate a blueprint for utilizing the every possible opportunity for the welaafre of gas victims. The board of trustees consists of eight womens from different parts of India.
Rasheeda Bee was borin in 1956 in a very ppor family in Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh. At the earlier age she got married in Bhopal. In 1984 she was expised to the gas and became another victim of toxic chemical and their bad impacts. The disaster caused great trouble for her family and made it difficult for them to make ends meet. Because of this, Rashida Bee had to come out from under the veil to earn a livelihood and support her family. After facing the outside world, she joined hands with thousands of women victims and started to campaign for the justice for gas victims.
With many other women survivors of Bhopal, they started the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Karamchari Sangh (The Bhopal Gas Affected Working Women's Union) and she was elected as its president. During the long struggle for justice, she has become so endeared to the people of Bhopal that they began to call her Rashida Aapa (aunt).
In 2004, her contribution to the community was recognized with Champa Devi Shukla and they were awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize. Both women decided to donate the entire sum of money towards establishing a charitable trust for the welfare of gas victims. At present Rashida Bee is one of the managing trustees for Chingari Trust and has devoted all her contribution for the welfare of gas victims in Bhopal. Epecially the next generation.
Champa Devi Shukla was born in 1952 in Jabalpur Madhya Pradesh at the age of 13 she got married in Jhansi and was living her family life quite well. Since her husband was in service and was posted in 1972 to Bhopal in agriculture department. On 3rd of December when the atmosphere of Bhopal was filled with toxic gas she also had become a victim with the rest of the family members.
After the disaster the male members of the family were not able to work outside the home because of ill health and she began to work outside in "Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Karamchari Sangh" and contribute towards her family income. After some years, she lost her husband and two sons; this impacted her tremendously. As she worked towards overcoming these tragedies she started to fight for the justice of her community. In 2004 with Rashida Bee, she was announced as the winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize. Because of this she was able to establish a Trust for the welfare of gas victims in her own community. At present she is the managing trustee of Chingari and is devoting her maximum time for decreasing the miseries of gas victims.
Nirmala Karunan is a social activist has been involved in the Bhopal campaign since the time of the disaster. She has been working for over 15 years of issues of environment, women's issues, grassroots and mass movements and civil society initiatives. She is currently working with Greenpeace as an Advisor – Public Relations and Political Affairs.
Suroopa Mukherjee is Reader in Department of English, Hindu College, University of Delhi. She had worked on a 3 year research project on "The Women Survivors of Bhopal". She has written a book "Bhopal Gas Tragedy-A Book for Young People" on the Bhopal gas tragedy in 2005.
Madhumita Dutta is an activist working on issues of environmental conservation over the last decade. She has focused on the impacts of toxins on health and environment, supporting grassroots communities across the country, fighting against mining corporations and the chemical industry over issues of justice, protection of natural resources and livelihood.
Kavitha Kuruganti (Trustee) has been working with for more than 12 years in
promoting ecological balance and sustaining agriculture and securing peasants rights.
Vinuta Gopal (trustee) Toxics Campaigner working with Greenpeace India. She
is working on issues related to the impact of deadly toxic industry on life; especially she is
involved in the Bhopal campaign since 2002.
Gurpreet Kaur Sidhu (Trustee) Founder of 'People Tree' (www.peopletreeonline.com) Gurpreet Kaur Sidhu is a graduate of the Professional Education programme of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. She co-founded a Design and Crafts development and marketing network, that eventually grew into 'People Tree', an organization that combines a sense of social purpose and ecological responsibility with the spirit of collective creativity. She is also the resource person for the 'We for Bhopal' students group of Delhi University working with survivors of the Bhopal gas disaster and a member of the Advisory Board of Toxics Link.
Meeting Champa Devi Shukla and Rashida Bee has been a life changing experience for me. These two
extraordinary individuals are mothers to the suffering children of Bhopal. They truly are selfless beings
who possess unanswerable strength and will determination… I have been so inspired.
Dev Patel(Actor-Slum dog Millionaire)
Very impressed with the tremendous work you do. Having met the children and their parents, it has
demonstrated to me great service you give.
Naveen Shah (London Assembly member)
Three months ago when Affan had come to Chingari, He seldom use to stand and always use to remain
sitting .Even his legs use to be tilted. But now after getting therapies at Chingari he has started keeping
his leg straight and is able to take few steps while trying to walk. I am really thankful to the staff of
Chingari Trust for the developments in Affan.
Nuzhrat Begum (Affan's mother)
Devank likes coming to Chingari. Earlier he was not able to hold his neck but now he has started to show
improvements. He does not like to take a leave from Chingari. Chingari has provided us with Van facility
(Transport) for coming and going back from Chingari. Chingari has also provided us assistance in making
the ration card and in filling the pension form. He has started speaking few words after getting speech
therapy from Chingari.
Sunita (Devank's mother)
After coming to Chingari, Kartik has started playing with other children. He likes coming to Chingari
and had started socializing with other children. Earlier, I was not having a ration card. Assistance from
Chingari helps me in getting the ration card and also in filling the pension form. Chinagri had also taken
us to a picnic along with other children.
Mamta (Kartik's mother)
Suraj has shown lots of improvement after coming to Chingari. Earlier he was not able to hold his neck
and had stiffness in his limbs. But now he has started holding his neck and stiffness in his limbs have
also reduced. Earlier Suraj was not able to socialize with others. But now he has started interacting with
other children. He feels good after coming to Chingari. Assistance from Chingari had also helped us in
getting the ration card and filling the pension form.
Kesar Bai (Suraj's mother)