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April 22, 2003

A Report to CAC/EKTA Donors on the Rehabilitation of the Victims of the Gujarat Carnage in Juhapura, Ahmedabad and Kalol Taluka, Panchmahal District:

Dear Donor:

As you recall, CAC and EKTA organized two events in the Bay Area last July to raise funds for the victims of the Gujarat carnage. Your generous contribution on the occasion was later matched by the American India Foundation (AIF), making our combined contribution $50,000. At the time, through consultations with AIF, we had made a decision to send the entire amount to SAATH, a reputable NGO in Ahmedabad, with years of experience in working with low-income slum areas in the city. SAATH had submitted a detailed proposal to rehabilitate hundreds of riot affected families (mostly Muslims and some Hindus) in the Juhapura area.

I have made several trips to Gujarat in the last eight months, along with other NRIs from a Sadbhavna Mission, and I have had the occasion to review SAATH's work in Juhapura. SAATH is working with a local community based organization and, together, they seem to be doing a great job of identifying and meeting the needs of specific families. Contrary to our initial expectations, however, the need for new housing construction was a lot less than the need for rehabilitating families (livelihood, education and healthcare.) Accordingly, our funds are being utilized in these areas--e.g. help towards deposits for new housing rentals, purchase of sewing machines, auto rickshaws, tools for mechanics, running schools, etc.

Based on an assessment of SAATH's work, we recommended to AIF and SAATH in January that they allocate a portion of our funds to assist another housing project in Kalol, where the human needs were much more acute (especially for Muslim families expelled from villages such as Delol, which are still refusing to let them in). All the parties agreed with that proposal, and nearly $23,000 was earmarked for this project, jointly undertaken by a local community cooperative, Action-Aid, Jan Vikas, AIF /CAC/EKTA, and Jamiat-Ulema-I-Hind. The referenced note on our web site details the nature of this project, which is now reported to be about 50% complete.

In summary, your contributions were extremely helpful in meeting the needs of the worst affected families in Juhapura and Kalol. And, on behalf of CAC and EKTA, I would like to take this opportunity to convey our gratitude for your timely help.

We hear from people on the ground that the communal environment in major cities of Gujarat is slowly coming back to normal. On the other hand, we understand that the social and economic boycott of Muslims in the rural areas is continuing to take a toll. We also hear that beneath the calmer veneer, the environment of hate has still not dissipated, underscoring the urgent need for initiatives to promote communal harmony, especially among the young. If you wish to know more about such initiatives, please do drop us a line.

Raju Rajagopal

Attach: A Report on the Kalol Project from Jan Vikas

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