Lifesaver for ages 9 & up -- India: Help the people of Bhopal
Safreen in a photo taken in Bhopal in 2014
Image courtesy Amnesty International © Raghu Rai / Magnum Photos
Safreen Khan is 20 years old. She lives beside a chemical factory in Bhopal, India.
One night ten years before Safreen was born, a deadly gas began leaking from the factory. It killed 10,000 people in three days.
Safreen first heard about the Bhopal disaster when she was at school. “Then,” she said, “I tried to gather more information by asking my mother. I came to understand that the problems that my family were going through started with the gas leak.”
The disaster happened at midnight as December 2 rolled into December 3, 1984. About half a million people suffered terrible health impacts. Many of them could not afford doctors or medicine. Many people were too sick to continue to work.
Interested by what she was learning, Safreen went to some meetings in her community. She watched her parents stand up for their rights with other protestors. That inspired her. “I felt that if many older people can fight for justice, then why don’t we youngsters support them?”
A lot of people are still suffering from bad health, thirty years later. The land around the factory has still not been cleaned up and the local water supply is polluted. The factory is now owned by Dow Chemical Company. Dow should give the survivors who were harmed by the disaster a lot of money for causing these problems. And it should clean up the toxic mess around the factory.
In 2008, Safreen was among eight children who decided to organize themselves as Children Against Dow-Carbide. They wanted to show the elders that youngsters, too, are supporting the calls for justice. Their first act was to walk from Bhopal to Delhi – a journey of over 700km – to create awareness of the community’s needs!
Safreen vowed that until the survivors of Bhopal’s gas leak receive the help they need, she would carry on with the struggle.
“Whenever I see the factory,” says Safreen, “I feel that it is because of it that thousands of people died and are still dying. It is affecting the next generation and this will continue until the chemicals are removed from there.”
What can I do?
Please write to the prime minister of India.
- Start your letter Dear Prime Minister Modi.
- In your first sentence, tell him something about yourself.
- Ask the Prime Minister to make sure that the land and water around the chemical factory in Bhopal are cleaned up.
- Ask him to make sure that the Dow Chemical company pays enough money to help the people of Bhopal because the gas leak caused so many deaths and serious health problems.
Where do I send my message?
Prime Minister’s Office
South Block, Raisina Hill
New Delhi-110011, India
Fax: 011 91 11 2301 9545 or 011 91 11 2301 6857
What else can I do?
Dow Chemical is an American company. Sometimes Canadian companies cause human rights violations in other countries. Please ask your Member of Parliament to make sure that if Canadian companies harm people when they do business outside Canada, those individuals can expect justice in Canadian courts. You do not need to stamp your envelope. Mail your request to
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
If you need your MP’s name, fax number or email address, use the internet to search “Find my MP” and enter your postal code.
Where can I find out more?