SparkPlug: Bhopal Disaster by Mariah Master

Mariah Master gave her Spark at Ignite Denver 21 on Thursday, November 5, 2015. She asked us to share this information about the Union Carbide disaster in 1984, and what they are doing to help.

In 1984, the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, India spewed a toxic cloud over the community, taking thousands of lives. Within 2 weeks the death toll grew to 8,000 people. While there are some whom have heard of the disaster, what most people don’t realize is that 30 years after the incident, people are still being affected.

In January 2016, the Integrative Health Care Program at Metro State University will be traveling to Bhopal to facilitate a service-learning project at the Sambhavna Clinic. The clinic is an integrated health center that provides free conventional and Ayurvedic medicine to the survivors of the Bhopal community who continue to suffer from severe health issues.

Often in life, there comes rebirth from destruction, beauty born from pain. So where is the beauty in this catastrophe? Our group of students think we may have found one answer. Since the tragedy, the people of Bhopal who may have never thought they would be empowered to use their voice have stood up to fight for what they deserve. Many have succeeded with the Sambhavna Clinic.

So how exactly are 14 Denver students making connection with such an immense situation on the other side of the world? Well, similar to the hard working passionate people of Bhopal, we too have been stepping into authoritative roles. We have taken full control of our education by making this trip happen. We have jumped through many hoops and pushed ourselves harder than we ever imagined possible. Only 2% of Metro students travel abroad. We have many faculty members talking by making this trip happen. The work we have done to make this happen – for ourselves by ourselves – has many people in awe, including each one of us.

We hope to build a long-lasting relationship with the Clinic. Our fundraising efforts will pay doctors salaries, update the facilities, and bring needed health education materials. We are reaching out to our greater community for their support in helping us raise funds in order to help see this vision flourish.

From the other side of the world, we are all linked in one way or another, and when we put our attention on that which is progressive and meaningful, huge things happen.

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