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BAPS Charities makes donation of $47,000 to UNICEF for Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund 

By Dilip Butani, Los Angeles

The start of a fantastic partnership, one that will help save the lives of thousands of children around the world. BAPS Charities donated $47,000 to the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, launching the first-ever partnership between the two NGOs. Ed Lloyd, CFO of UNICEF said, “Every penny makes a difference. This is what we do. We are in the business of helping children. Luckily, today, we found an able and willing partner. This partnership shows what two giving organizations can do to help children in need.”

The volunteers of BAPS Charities - children, youth, and adults - came together to raise funds for those suffering in Haiti. Roshni Chavda, a six-year old girl, was saving money in her piggybank for a new toy; however, after she heard about the plight of the children in Haiti, she donated all that she had saved, to help them rebuild their lives. “I can’t imagine living without cookies and juice. It must be hard for them.” Roshni donated enough money to buy 45 cartons of juice and more than 60 packs of cookies!

On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake with 33 recorded aftershocks rattled Haiti. It killed more than 200,000 people, displaced over a million, and affected as many as 3 million people. Since forty percent of the Haitian population is children aged 14 and under, a large majority of the people displaced as a result of this earthquake is children. During the aftermath of this earthquake, BAPS Charities partnered with UNICEF to provide aid and protection for children who lost their family and friends. Together, they constructed over 400 camps for the displaced individuals in the affected areas. These camps provide children with education, protection, and health care services.
This earthquake, the worst in this region in 200 years, destroyed over 3,000 educational facilities and caused grave damage to government buildings and hospitals throughout the country. The efforts of BAPS Charities and UNICEF have brought clean water to individuals living in remote areas, improved sanitation conditions to prevent the spread of disease, and provided ‘baby tents,’ a safe place for mothers to breastfeed.

Ms. Hilde Johnson, UNICEF’s Deputy Executive Director, recently visited Haiti to survey and gauge the progress of the relief efforts undertaken by the global community. “Learning spaces like this give children who have been through a terrible experience a chance to get back to normality, allowing them to resume learning activities as well as to play and have fun,” said Ms. Johnson in a UNICEF press release.

“Working with UNICEF has been a great experience,” said Anand Mehta, Director, BAPS Charities. “These two organizations worked in unison and quickly mobilized to provide the Haitian children with immediate relief and long term rehabilitation.”

BAPS Charities is known for its excellence in providing disaster relief services and on-going humanitarian care for children. In 2001, after the Gujarat earthquake, its volunteers reached Kutch within minutes of the first quake. They helped rescue individuals buried in the rubble, regularly fed hot meals to victims and volunteers, provided minute necessities like nail cutters, and rebuilt schools, homes, and communities. During Hurricane Katrina and Ike, to help people survive this catastrophe, BAPS Charities volunteers again served hot meals, provided people with clothing, and offered counseling. The natural calamity in Haiti has again provided an opportunity for BAPS Charities to engage tens of thousands of its volunteers to work alongside UNICEF to make a difference in our world.

About BAPS Charities

BAPS Charities is a 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit international charity organization committed to sincerely serving the world by caring for individuals, families, and communities. It is affiliated with BAPS as an independent charity and social services arm. The 55,000 BAPS volunteers networked in over 3,300 centers around the world provide over 12 million volunteer-hours of service annually.

Among social service charities, BAPS Charities is a well-respected and trusted name. It has amassed over 50 years of firsthand experience in initiating, managing, and sustaining 160 humanitarian operations throughout the world in such diverse fields as: medical services, environmental services, community services, tribal services, and disaster relief services.

For additional information on BAPS Charities and its international and local philanthropic activities, please visit