The Tulsi Trust is a registered charity working with Bengali resettled refugees and the indigenous Adivaashi aboriginals of the interior area of Chhatthisghar (formerly Madhya Pradesh), India.
The project is located deep in the heart of the jungle, seven hours from the nearest city, Raipur.
It was to this area of southern Madhya Pradesh that 40,000 Bengali refugees fleeing from East Pakistan were resettled in the mid 1960s to 1970s.
These once prosperous people were forced to leave their homes under traumatic conditions and arrived in India with nothing. After surviving the overcrowded refugee camps in Raipur, each family was eventually given a small plot of land in the jungle.
In 1971 George Harrison, Ravi Shankar and friends staged a benefit concert to help raise funds for these people.
Despite their efforts, 40 years later they still live in poverty and are struggling to rebuild their lives.
Conditions in the area are harsh. There is limited education and little primary health care. Hospitals are several hours drive away over rough roads on overcrowded buses. Children and adults become crippled for lack of medical attention after simple accidents. There is no maternity care. People die from malaria which is endemic as is dysentery. TB, cholera and typhoid are also common. Chronic anaemia and iodine deficiencies are widespread due to dietary inadequacies.
The Tulsi Trusts objectives are to empower the Bengali and Adivaashi villagers, break the cycle of poverty and ill health, help achieve sustainable development and help maintain their rich cultural heritage.