Shattered Hope Restored
It was December 26, 2004, when a tragedy struck this coastal village in the form of a massive tsunami. Raging waters slammed into the village, taking with it families, homes and livelihoods.
Hailing from a poor fisherman family, Sangita (name changed), the youngest of three girls in the family, was too young to realize the impact of the catastrophe. Her family lost everything in the calamity and her elder sister who was just one year older than her was severely injured when she was caught in a swirl of water.
Recalling the incident, Sangita’s mother said, “My second daughter was at another coastal area when the waves came rushing in and she was nearly swept away, but people pulled her out of water. My husband also was caught in a huge wave and it was after much struggle that he escaped the waves’ fury. But our boat and fishing nets were wiped away by a giant wave which submerged our property. We lost everything we had and our livelihood. But we are lucky to be alive”.
It was all over in a matter of few minutes. An area which was a village a while ago was now in shambles. Dead bodies and debris lay strewn everywhere and wailing of people was echoing in the air. The death toll rose over to 600 in the area with thousands of houses being decimated. The people who lived by the shore were the ones who bore the brunt. Many children lost their lives and many surviving children lost one or both parents. Orphaned by the tsunami, these children did not know who would take care of them or where their next meal would come from. They were put in relief camps which were spilling over with survivors.
Losing the sole source of livelihood, boat and fishing nets, despair filled the hearts of Sangita’s parents as they stared at an uncertain future. They did not how they would tide over the loss and educate their three daughters.
It was when they heard Hope for Children was opening a center in this village to provide free education to children who were affected by Tsunami. They approached the Hope for Children center and thus Sangita who was 4 years old at the time and her two older sisters, aged 7 and 5 were enrolled at the center.
Joining the Hope for Children changed the course of their lives. Daily nutritious meals, school supplies, regular medical care and free education help the three siblings thrive, emotionally, physically, and academically. With the guidance and support received from teachers at the center, Sangita and her siblings could complete their school education successfully and now Sangita’s eldest sister is doing civil engineering (final year) and the second sister is studying BA chemistry and Sangita is doing BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration).
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