As India prepares to host the world’s biggest sporting event of the year, some families in the country’s most remote districts are hoping to turn their lives around.
The city of Coimbatore, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, has hosted the annual cricket tournament, the National Games, for nearly 40 years, but now, with the world on edge, the city is looking for new ways to help rebuild its community.
The annual event is meant to help the city’s 1.2 million residents rebuild their lives after the devastating 2009 earthquake and ensuing tsunami.
But many of the citys residents have found the experience traumatic and distressing.
The Indian government has set aside millions of dollars to help families with the trauma of being displaced, as well as to rebuild homes.
A lot of families have been left homeless as the earthquake devastated their communities, says Aditya Dhanush, the chief of Coimbra-based Coimbetra Housing Association, which runs three residential schools.
The association has set up a network of five residential schools, where families can live and work in their own homes.
Dhanush says the schools provide education to students who have never attended a school before, while providing vocational training to students, who learn about agriculture and other fields.
The schools also help people find employment, he says.
“We’ve got an average of 20-30 percent employment in these schools,” Dhanash says.
Dainik Sarkar, who runs the citywide Kalyanad, an NGO that helps low-income families in Coimabad, says that the city needs to step up its efforts to rebuild its Indian residential school population.
“If we are going to host it, it needs to be a city-wide event,” Sarkar says.
“We have to create a community that can live here.”
Sarkar says the city has already taken steps to help people move into new communities, but says it needs more.
He says the Kalyans, who have been in Coimbadabhir district for years, have been forced to move into the suburbs of Coobli.
“The government is trying to find ways to create more accommodation,” he says, “but we are not willing to give up the city we have been living in.”
For many of Coombatore’s families, that’s a huge struggle.
The region’s 1,300-square-kilometer area was home to more than 50,000 Indian residential students.
Many of them moved to Coimbabihir in the 1990s to escape poverty.
But since then, they’ve been trapped in the city, unable to move because of the housing crisis.
“When the earthquake happened, we couldn’t even get in the bus, and we couldn`t leave,” says Anurag, who was only able to leave Coimbibir for the last few weeks.
“When the tsunami hit, we were stuck in our house for six days.”
“They couldn` t get the job we had been looking for.”
For Anurang, moving from the city to Coombinabad meant a lot more than just moving away from the hardships of Coobo.
He said he found a job at the Coimbaraj Hotel, a tourist attraction in Coombu city.
He now has a full-time job and is getting ready to start a new life with his wife, Anurak, and daughter, Sarthak.
Anuralak is a senior at Coimbu College.
She also works in an office.
“I`ve been living here for almost six years, so now I am going to start my own life,” she says.
She is grateful that the school has given her a chance to make it back.
For Dhanus, moving to Coimbabhiri was not easy.
The area is one of the most remote areas in the state, with just over a quarter of the population.
He says the only other option was moving to a larger city in the region, like Coombidar.
“I moved here because I wanted to make a better life for my daughter,” he said.
For a family like Dhanu’s, moving back home was not an option.
The families in a city like Coimbinabhira has become a burden.
The children have no place to play or go to school, and even if they get an education, they have no one to turn to.
“My daughter cannot go to a school because she has to go to Coobbinabri,” Dainik says.
But the school is open, and the family is hoping for the best.
“Our goal is to move back to the city where we used to live,” Dani says.
But Dhanur, Analak and Sarthik say that is not going to be easy.
They are worried about their safety, and worried about how they will be able to survive.
“Now we have