October 13 is the International Day for Disaster Reduction. On this day, I am happy recalling few works of my elder brother Pankaj Bhushan who pitched in at the most appropriate hour to help many a lives, during the worst floods in India’s East in 2008.
Ever since, I have always seen him using his role effectively within families and communities to strengthen risk reduction, believing in respectable life and equal opportunity for all.
Today, he has a team dedicated to human values and as his work is spreading throughout India, I get it encouraging to find him focusing on issues that demand urgent attention and follow-up action, solutions, and significant results.
Having worked in areas like elimination of child labour, trafficking, women uplift, disasters, hygiene and sanitation for destitute, he is now extensively working for food, farmers, consumers and agriculture. His campaigns for the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA – a large, nation-wide informal network of more than 400 organisations drawn from 20 states of India) are well appreciated by all who know him.
On this day, I share some of the pictures of his 24X7 work during the devastating flood of 2008, when the Kosi river inundated large areas from Nepal to Bihar in India’s east, affecting hundreds of thousands.
Yes, he reached there immediately with his team and volunteers. “Even if we were unable to stop flood, we at least saved lives, many lives,” he told me when back home.
According to him, when disaster strikes, a fast and effective response can save lives. Then, it’s not just every day that counts, it’s every hour.
I salute his determination to work in alarming situations and it gives me pleasure to share that my brother has already crisscrossed the entire stretch of the Indian sub-continent, travelling to the remotest units, learning local cultures and understanding people’s problems.
He is passionate about helping the poor, disabled and elderly. He is a spiritual person and a yoga practitioner too. His schedules are hectic. Still, he gets personally involved in surveying the target areas and in collection of significant data.
He is an avid reader, researcher and traveller. In 2002, he founded Tara Foundation with like-minded social workers. His works speak and they are often picked by media for impressive, emulating reviews as Tara Foundation grows as one of India’s most recognized and respected non-government organisations.
He is committed to full literacy, rehabilitation of disabled, liberating women from social dogmas and empowering them, besides freeing children from labour and creating a new world for them.
As you read this, he is already working steadily towards solving some of the poor’s most threatening problems and campaigning against genetically modified foods. No wonder people credit him with ushering in a philanthropy phenomenon in India.
Pictures below of his 2008 rescue missions, community kitchen, shelter arrangements, health centres, education and entertainment units and emergency kits:
The United Nations General Assembly, by a resolution [64/200 of 21 December 2009], designated 13 October as the date to commemorate the Day, and to change the Day’s name to ‘International Day for Disaster Reduction’.
The objective of the observance is to raise awareness of how people are taking action to reduce their risk to disasters. The theme of the 2012 International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) is “Women and Girls – the [in]Visible Force of Resilience”.