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  Archives » Riot Rehabilitation » Fifteen Days After

Gujarat and Ahmedabad experienced riots on 28th February and 1st March 2002. The violence continued sporadically till 16th March 2002. The violence also gripped several districts of Gujarat.

SEWA’s members in the labour areas of Ahmedabad and districts of Kheda, Sabarkantha and Mehsana have been affected. An estimated 40,000 members in total have been affected.

The immediate emerging situation after the riots was that the affected households took refuge in nearby community centers such as mosque or cemetery grounds, schools, housing societies in Ahmedabad city. These groups of families eventually turned into camps.

SEWA organizers and leaders during their preliminary assessments also visited these camps. Most of the members were taking refuge in these camps.


The immediate assessment showed that, more than 10,000 members houses have been burnt down and are completely damaged. About 2000 member’s houses have been looted and partially damaged.

Several members, family members have suffered injuries, some even serious injuries and burns. About four members have died.

The assessment from the rural areas have started coming in. In Kheda district, about 5000 members from 53 villages have been affected. The houses of these members have been burnt down. All these members fled their villages and are currently taking refuge in 7 camps in Anand town.

The detailed house-to-house damage assessment is currently being done in Ahmedabad city. Also the detailed assessment on damage to livelihoods is being undertaken.

  Immediate Action: Ahmedabad City

Based on the very first visit to all the 22 camps on 2nd and 3rd March 2002. SEWA identified six camps for support. These six camps have large number of SEWA’s members.

A team of 7 to 8 SEWA organizers – comprising organizers from health, child care, insurance, academy, bank and urban organizing, is constituted for each camp and they work at the camps daily.

This team of organizers, facilitates and works closely with the local community camp committees. These comprise of community leaders and SEWA’s local community workers.The day to day organizing of activities is facilitated by the team of SEWA’s organizers. The day to day operations, implementation and management are done by the local community camp committees.

The immediate response and action areas are summarized herewith:

  Food and Ration Support :

With the immediate support from Oxfam, food ration was supplied at the six relief camps. About 20,000 kgs. of khichdi (mixture of rice and pulses) and 945 kgs. of milk powder were supplied.

SEWA co-ordinated with the revenue department, Government of Gujarat for linking up the camps with Government relief. Thereafter the camps were supplied ration, through the Food and Civil Supplies Corporation.

The Government relief provides 500 gms. wheat 100 gms. pulses, milk powder per person per day.

  Child Care Services :

Child care centers have been opened at all the six relief camps. On an average about 80 to 200 children are taken care at the child care centers per camp. Children in the age group of 0 to 12 years attend the center. Each childcare center is managed by a team comprising of SEWA’s trained childcare organizers (supervisor), childcare worker, SEWA Academy literacy organizers and teachers.

Children are divided into different age groups. The younger children, in the age group of 0 to 5 years are taken care separately.

Children in the age group of 6 to 12 years are taken care separately. The older children undertake activities such as drawing and painting, story telling and reading, music and indoor games.

  For the school going children, the SEWA Academy's literacy team has initiated informal classes. Textbooks of class 1 to 4 are kept. Children read and write using these textbooks. Also read 'Aakashganga magazine'.

The muslim children generally have been familiar with Urdu language. At the camp classes, these children are also taught 'Gujarati'.

At the child care centers the children are given milk, two snacks and one meal.

These childcare centers at the camps have been linked with the ICDS centers. So an additional snack prepared from India mix is also provided to the children and one ICDS worker also joins the SEWA team.

Regular weight and health check-up of the children at each center is also conducted.
No. Camp No. of children

Aman Chowk, Bapunagar


Anand Flat, Bapunagar


Kisan Society, Danilimda


Bokarshah’s Roza, Saraspur


Bombay Housing, Saraspur

  Health Services :

SEWA’s trained health workers and organizers, also operate health centers at each camp. The main role is to counsel and consult the households and refer them to the Mobile Health Clinics of the Government, which regularly visit the camps for a fixed time. This medical facility provides immediate treatment for minor ailments.

The health workers also identify members having major health problems. Based on their assessment, the health team at SEWA, organizes check-ups at camps by specialized doctors mainly gynaecologists, pediatricians, physicians.

At the camps there are many pregnant and lactating women, who need prenatal and postnatal treatments. There are also cases of deliveries taking place at camps. SEWA’s gynaecologist visits the camps and attends to the cases. On an average there are 20 to 35 cases per camp.


Similarly the pediatricians visit the camp and do regular check-up of the children. On an average 50 to 60 children are examined per day. Common illness of severe Rhinitis, Stomachache, Diarrhoea are common among children.

The physicians also examine the patients at the camps. Besides common ailments of cough and cold, fever and headache. There are cases of skin infections, severe burns and other injuries which are also treated.

Some of the patients are also referred to hospitals for further treatment.

The patients having tuberculosis are also referred for treatment under the DOTS programme linked up with hospitals for proper, regular treatment. Anti – T.B. drugs under DOTS are now provided by the AMC to patients at the camps, through SEWA’s intervention, so that there is no break in their treatment.


The health team of SEWA, also co-ordinated with the Government Health Department and the Municipal Corporation, for providing team of doctors on regular basis.

The team of doctors comprising of physician, peadiatrician and gynaecologist and T.B. specialist now visit all the camps. SEWA’s health organizer also joins this time.

SEWA also proposed to the Health Department, to start immunization centers at each camp, since there are large number of children. The immunization centers have also become operational.

The overall assessment is that the women and children at the camps are still under deep shock, trauma and mental stress.

  Hygiene and Sanitation :

Cleanliness and proper sanitation are crucial at camps, to avoid outbreak of epidemic. Team of SEWA organizers at the camp, on a daily basis, involve the camp residents and local committees, in cleaning the camp sites, kitchen area. Also guide the committee on proper disposal of garbage and left over food. Proper cleaning and mobile and temporary toilets.

Spraying of disinfectant on a daily basis at the garbage dumping and serveage disposal sites.

Hygiene education classes are also conducted.

  Livelihood Security :

The women at the camps, demanded work from the very first week. SEWA has initiated livelihood activities of (1) beedi rolling (2) incense stick rolling (3) garment stitching (4) quilt making (5) paper bag making. So far about 3000 women from all the five camps are covered under above activities. The team of students from IIM are conducting a detailed assessment on damage and loss of livelihood. Based on this assessment, SEWA will launch the long term rehabilitation programme. The women earn Rs. 35/- to Rs. 40/- per day. The distribution of raw material and production is done by the SEWA Co-operative Federation. The marketing of the produce is done by SEWA’s marketing organizations, the SEWA Co-operative Federation and SEWA Gram Mahila Haat.

- Beedi rolling

About 300 women are engaged in beedi rolling at 2 camps. These women’s traditional occupation has been beedi rolling. SEWA linked up with local beedi traders. The raw material is supplied by the traders and the finished goods are also purchased by him. The women roll about 3 lakh to 3,75,000 beedis per day. They are made spot payment of the work done on daily basis.

- Incense stick making

About 225 women are involved in incense stick making at 2 camps. For these women, incense stick making was their traditional occupation. These women sit in a group at camps and make incense sticks. The raw material is procured from local traders, who also purchase the finished sticks. The women produce about 5 to 7 thousand sticks per day and earn upto Rs. 35 per day.

- Garment stitching

A group of 35 to 40 women at each camp have been identified for garment stitching. SEWA installed machines from the first week at the camps. A master cutter has been identified at each camp. Raw material is purchased by SEWA and provided at the camps.

Currently the women stitch garments, which the campers themselves can use, as most of them have fled their houses empty hand.

The women stitch 2 to 3 pairs per day and earn upto Rs. 40/-. The garments stitched are distributed amongst the households at the camps.

- Paper bag making

A group of 15 to 20 women at each camp are involved in paper bag making. SEWA procures waste paper from the press and printing houses. The women make about 5 to 7 kg. of paper bag per women per day. They earn Rs. 5 per kg. of paper bag. On an average each woman earns Rs. 25 to Rs. 35 per day.

The paper bags are sold to pharmaceutical stores, grocery stores on wholesale basis.

  Informal Education :

The literacy team from SEWA Academy conducts classes for young boys and girls and also adults. Two hour classes are conducted daily. There are different timings for different age groups.

The young boys and girls in 9th and above grades are facilitated to concentrate on their studies. They have lost all their study material. This was provided by linking up with the school board and a few NGOs. So using the textbooks, the older children study for 2 to 3 hours.

In the afternoon, the elder women attend the literacy classes.

  Housing Reconstruction

SEWA has initiated damage assessment, as well as housing reconstruction needs assessment in 20 affected areas of Ahmedabad city. The expert inputs are provided by DPS architects team.

The assessment will assess the degree of damage and also assess the reconstruction cost.

The needs for reconstruction – financial, material, technical and manpower. The assessment will be done by the owners themselves.

Based on the assessment, SEWA will plan to housing reconstruction programme.

  Insurance :

The insurance team of SEWA – Vimo SEWA, conducted a quick first hand assessment of damage of houses, household goods and tools and equipments, along with the survey our from the National Insurance Company. The detailed note is enclosed as Annex 1.

Based on the assessment, the Vimo SEWA will work out the compensation package for the insurances.


Rural Response :

The first assessment of damage has started coming from Kheda, Mehsana and Sabarkantha districts.

Kheda district : In Kheda district, SEWA members in about 53 villages have been affected. Their houses have been completely burnt down. These households have fled from their villages and taken refuge in the camps in Anand Town. SEWA’s organizers, visited all the seven camps, met with the members.

Based on Sea’s general approach, child care centers and health care centers have been opened in all the seven camps. On an average 503 children attend the centers.

No Name of village No. of children





Naya Vatan


Green Park


The child care centers function on similar pattern as in Ahmedabad city.

The team of SEWA health workers, also operate health centers at each camp. Treatment for minor ailments such as headache, fever, minor injuries is attended. In case of major ailments, referral services are provided.

The assessments from Mehsana and Sabarkantha districts are awaited.

Interview of Smt.Ela R. Bhatt
One month after
Livelihood and Security for Women in Gujarat
Shantipath: Our Road to Restoring Peace


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