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by  Sri Aurobindo Education Society

 Orissa has seen the Aurobindonian movement take off in a big way, with Sri Aurobindo Centres and schools coming up all over the state in big numbers. But unfortunately at the moment a large part of the state is in ruins as a result of the devastating Super-Cyclone that raged on 29 October 1999. Our Centers and schools in the coastal areas have had their share of the havoc caused by nature’s fury.

Sri Aurobindo Education Society have joined hands in the ongoing relief and rehabilitation effort in the cyclone-hit region. We also intend to help with the enormous task of rebuilding the ruined schools that lies ahead. We have made a good start in collaboration with the New Life Education Trust, Cuttack.

Phase-I (12 to 19 November 1999) RELIEF OPERATIONS STARTED

Our first relief team that left for Orissa on 12 November 1999 carried medicines worth Rs. 50,000/- and over 5 quintals of clothes and several other essential items. They were joined by a team from Pondicherry who had brought medicines in bulk and the Cuttack team of the New Life Education Trust. Using the following strategy they were able to reach 41 Centers in 7 districts quickly and make the relief material available to the villages close to the 41 Centers (Where badly needed financial aid was also given on the spot.)

 Two teams were formed with members from Delhi, Cuttack and Pondicherry in each team.

 Traveling 250-300 km each day one team would cover 5-6 Centers of a district. Thus 41 Centers in seven districts were covered in six working days.

 The team would spend about an hour at each Center distributing relief material, talking to the organizers, assessing the damage to school buildings and giving moral support.

> Two medical camps were also conducted at Khurusia and Cuttack where some 250 patients were examined
and provided with free medicines.

 Each of the 41 Centers was also given a box of   essential medicines with printed instructions.

Phase-II (29 Nov. to 15 Dec. 1999)---------- RELIEF CONTINUED

Relief material was sent through Shri Prasad Tripathy, Secretary, New Life Education Trust and distributed through the Trust.

Phase-III (22 Dec. 1999 to 5 Jan 2000)----TRAINING

Second relief team goes to Orissa with relief material.

> 50 teachers from rural Sri Aurobindo schools to be provided socio-medical training in 7-8 camps at different places. The trained persons could then become resource persons to provide guidance and leadership in the community effort and to help in the supervision of the construction work.

Phase-IV (Jan. 2000 onwards)----------REBUILDING OF SCHOOLS

There are over 300 Sri Aurobindo schools in Orissa and most of them are in economically backward areas. Many of them have been badly damaged by the Super-Cyclone. They are in need of help. We propose to concentrate on reconstruction of such schools, using alternative technology and spending about Rs. 7 lakhs on each school.

Much of the groundwork has been done and an all out drive for collection of funds from all likely sources is going on. The actual work in the field is expected to start soon. It is a massive effort that we are undertaking but it is the need of the hour. Apart from the value of these schools for spreading the effulgent message of Sri Aurobindo, the school buildings also serve as shelter for the poor in catastrophic times such as were witnessed recently.

(From The Call Beyond Vol 25, No. 1, 2000)