In A Typhoon’s Wake, Save The Children Helps Indian Families Recover

October 29, 2019 | 2 minute read
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By Linda Post, Senior Writer

Meghna Goyal, a cheerful 28-year old relief worker for Save the Children, India, is skilled at keeping her spirits high while working in what might seem hopeless situations. She and her colleagues on the humanitarian aid team respond to some of India’s worst natural catastrophes, including earthquakes, floods, and cyclones. Her current assignment is typically tough: to help the families whose homes were crushed and carried away by the 127-mile-per-hour winds of Cyclone Fani that devastated the eastern state of Odisha in April.

“Everyone needs hope in their lives,” Goyal says.

One way Save the Children offers hope after a storm so severe is with what it calls a “Child-Friendly Learning Space.” Nine days after the storm, Save the Children CEO Bidisha Pillai was on site to open the first such space, located under the shade of tarps and dry coconut tree leaves in the district of Krishnaprasad where an impromptu community of more than 400 people took shelter. 

Save the Children hired area residents to look after youngsters, keeping them fed and hydrated and giving them a peaceful place to read, play with their friends, and forget about the scary storm for a while. Schools are on summer break now so the organization hired college students to help children keep up with their lessons.

That let parents do what they can to rebuild the lives of their families, with the peace of mind that their children are safe and supervised. Giving parents that time is crucial because the storm delivered a double whammy: leveling homes, while also wiping out people’s means of making a living by killing livestock, damaging fishing boats and nets, and uprooting cashew and coconut trees on area farms.    

Even the imposing rice mill, once an area landmark, was gone amid the scene of “utter devastation,” Goyal says. Electrical power poles were twisted into shapes that looked like “people striking yoga poses,” plunging the region into darkness.

Save The Children CEO Bidisha Pillai opens the first Child-Friendly Learning Space. Courtesy Geeta Lama, Save the Children

100 Years of Caring For Children

The quick and focused response to Cyclone Fani is typical of the humanitarian relief offered by Save the Children worldwide. This year marks the nonprofit organization’s 100th anniversary in service to children at risk due to crises such as storms, war, poverty, and disease. Save the Children affiliates worldwide helped 155 million children in 120 countries during 2017, according to its most recent annual report.

To achieve its goal of service to children in times of storms, war, poverty and disease, Save the Children uses Oracle HCM Cloud to recruit mission-minded individuals who help plan for disaster relief. Additionally, Oracle ERP Cloud is used to track expenses and reports to donors, which helps the non-profit operate in remote areas. 

Learn more about the work of Save the Children on Forbes. 

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