Dec 08, 2006: Robin Raina Foundation (RRF) announced today that it has launched emergency relief efforts after an accidental fire in the slums of Bawana, India on December 6th afternoon destroyed 380 slum dweller homes and left 1685 under-privileged people with virtually nothing in terms of shelter, food and clothing.
The foundation also announced that all the children of Raina Prayas School in Bawana are safe as they were in the school when the fire started. The fire started by an accidental oil spill while a woman was cooking at a slum dweller’s home soon engulfed the entire JJ colony slums of Bawana. The fire was brought under control in another three hours after a consistent effort by 15 fire brigade teams, but left complete devastation in 380 homes. The good news, if any, was that the impact could have been far worse as Bawana is home to the largest slums in North India with 5000 slum dweller homes.
As the only charity that has set its base in the slums of Bawana and is trusted by the people there, Raina Prayas took the lead and launched immediate relief efforts. The Raina Prayas volunteers have been at the site since the fire started and have been involved in every aspect of the relief effort – from reporting the fire to the fire brigade, jumping into the fire to save the lives of the old and the children to providing food, medical relief, clothing, utensils etc.
In the last few days, Raina Prayas has provided relief in a number of ways to the needy:
- Providing food to around 3500 people daily.
- Running medical camp with a team of five doctors on the site
- Providing in excess of 1000 blankets
- Providing thousands of utensils to 380 families – plates, bowls, water flasks, cooking utensils, frying pans, glasses, serving spoons, normal spoons etc.
- Providing shelter to the children of those effected at night in the Raina Prayas school
- Providing a few hundred sweaters and shoes to those effected.
- Helping the administration run a census of those impacted
- Coordinating with the local administration to seek relief from them too.
RRF Founder Robin Raina issued an appeal to all the people of United States to donate generously to the relief efforts. In a statement, Robin said, “Our heart goes out to those affected by the fire. This is the time for each one of us in the United States to open our hearts and wallets, to help provide immediate relief to these needy people. All of us have good life styles here in the United States and a little bit of monetary help might not change that life style in any manner but imagine the positive impact it can have on the lives of those in Bawana who badly need your helping hand today. I appeal to each one of you to donate generously towards the ongoing relief efforts in an expeditious manner.”
All donations payable to “Robin Raina Foundation” should be sent to:
Robin Raina Foundation – Raina Prayas Relief Center,
2075 Lake Shore Landing,
Alpharetta, GA 30005
A day by day, site report filed by Archana Gupta, Project Manager – Raina Prayas is reproduced below:
6th December 2006: It was 1.15 p.m. when peace at E – Block, J.J. Colony broke into shriek and cries of people affected with major fire accident. The cause of fire was mere negligence of a lady while cooking. As Raina-Prayas centre is 3 k.m. away from the scene of fire, we got the information on telephone and the news spread. Our children were taking midday meal and after hearing the news Raina-Prayas staff immediately contacted the Fire Brigade and in 6 minutes along with big children of Raina-Prayas, the staff rushed to the spot and helped them in all possible ways to save the lives of families caught up in Fire. Within 15 minutes all the way from Bawana, Narela, Bhor Garh, Rohini and Jahangir Puri 13 Fire Brigades rushed to the spot. Our staff including Raina-Prayas Counselor, Educators, Volunteers and Vocational students made immediate efforts to save people’s lives and avoid new unfortunate events happening in the community which also includes fight between the anti social people and Fire Brigade team. After the struggle of 3 hours the fire was under control but it left everything black & burned behind with people crying bitterly for all their losses in the accident. The families were left behind with nothing but most importantly their lives. Only few were injured while saving their homes. Project Manager along with three teachers was at Tughlakabad office for training on HIV-Aids. After getting the information regarding the Fire accident, Project Manager immediately at 1.30 p.m. contacted Dr. Somwal for sending medical assistance on the spot and soon after along with the teachers rushed to the Bawana affected spot and reached there at 3.30 p.m. A survey form was then developed by Raina-Prayas. A copy is enclosed for reference. The statistical data collected with the help of survey form is as under –
Block affected with Fire – E Block
Total no. Families – 380
Total No. of members affected with Fire Accident – 1685
Students of Raina-Prayas among the affected members- 63
Self Help Group Women among the affected members – 67
Vocational students among the affected members – 25
At 3.30 p.m. when everything got silent, the Local MLA, Counsellor, SDM, SHO, local leaders and school principals tuned up to the affected area. People were out of control, but the leaders came forward with sympathy and lots of promises again. Immediate food & temporary tent as a shelter was arranged. The local MLA was quite helpful in supporting the relief efforts. In the mean time the medical van along with Raina Prayas Health Service Team reached the spot to start our medical camp.
The senior Raina Prayas team visited the spot at 8.30 p.m. and was there with us till 12.15 p.m. They all settle down with the Project Manager and counselor of Raina-Prayas and discussed the budget we have with us to help the needy. We were there till 11.55 in the night and met the people suffering with pain. Raina Prayas Project Manager called Robin Raina in Atlanta and discussed everything with him. He immediately deputed Mr. Vikas Verma, Robin Raina Foundation to release funds and reach the site with other relief workers and relief stuff.
7th December, 2006. Raina-Prayas team reached the spot at 6.30 a.m. and distributed milk and bread as a breakfast to the affected people. At 8.00 a.m. the Raina Prayas health team reached the affected area and started the medical camp again to facilitate the sick people who were shivering with cold without clothes. The camp was carried away very well with the help of Raina-Prayas volunteers, NIUA, Self Help Group Members and Vocational Students. It was team effort which gave the best helping results in terms of faith developed in the community for Raina-Prayas which was seen as people were only allowing Raina-Prayas to enter and work in the community with other organization and leaders keeping away from them. At 3.00 p.m. Mr. Vikas Verma, and Mr. Satya, Robin Raina Foundation along with his team visited Bawana to coordinate relief efforts and discuss more relief. They met the people and their children of Raina-Prayas who were now without clothes and homes. They discussed the need of the community with the Project Manager and thought of distributing 1000 blankets and 380 set of Utensils (Four plates, Four Bowls, Four Spoon, Two serving spoons, One kadai and One big Patila) to the affected families on 8th December, 2006. It was only Raina-Prayas who was there in the community with the affected people from morning till night. No other organization was taking effort in helping these people even the local leaders and Police was appreciating the work done by Raina-Prayas and was with us wherever we required them. Raina-Prayas then distributed meals, sweaters and shoes to the people of the affected community.
8th December, 2006: At 7.00 a.m. Raina-Prayas team reached the site and distributed Breakfast with milk and bread to the people. At the time of writing this at 9 pm today, we are now distributing another 860 Blankets and Utensils today to those affected by the devastation.
Archana Gupta, Project Manager
About Raina Prayas
In 2004, Robin Raina Foundation and Prayas, a Delhi based highly decorated NGO in India decided to set up the Raina Prayas joint venture initiative in Bawana, for the sole purpose of promoting literacy among the children living in the slums of Bawana and providing hope and a future to these kids and their families. The goal of Raina Prayas is not only to help educate children in the slums, provide food, clothing and medical facilities to these children but also to motivate other organizations to establish similar programs throughout the city, across the state, and all around the nation.
About the Robin Raina Foundation
A 501(c) charity, Raina foundation has been setup to raise funds for work to be carried out to empower children who need help around the world. The foundation's focus is to make a difference in the lives of children - who are handicapped, blind, mentally challenged, sick or in need of urgent medical help and underprivileged kids who need education.
Sanjay Supehia (678)517-8688
Ashish Arora (678)910-2604