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Origins: In the aftermath of the devastating Asian tsunami of December 26, 2004, an international Franco-Indian Reconstruction Project (FIR) was initiated by Mrs. (Dr.) Shyama V. Ramani, President of the Franco-Indian Association of Grenoble, France (Ganga-Isere) in January 2005 as part of the world-wide response. It was a project entirely organized by individuals on a voluntary basis. Its initial objective was to help 3 villages in Tamil Nadu, India that had been severely damaged by the Tsunami of December 2005, attain fundamental developmental goals like income security, basic sanitation and health standards, gender equality and security for children.
The group increased during 2005, individuals from all the world joined, target villages were identified in Tamil Nadu, a French NGO and an Indian NGO were identified and the projects were defined. In January 2006, Association Un-Ami was created in Reims, France by Shyama V. Ramani and Christine Honore, to centralize and coordinate the project. The sister Trust Friend In Need was created in India in 2006. All members of Association Un-Ami are volunteers and families in Europe continue to support its work in India via Friend In Need Trust.
Evolution: Families, friends, colleagues and students of the founders have supported and continue to support the projects of Friend In Need India. Association Un Ami has also received grants from Dotation Nord-Sud (of the French Ministry of External Affairs), the Municipality of the city of Reims, and the company Yves Rocher, renowned for its engagement with sustainability.
The Mission of Association Un-Ami is presently to work towards provision of safe water, safe sanitation, waste management, value creation from waste and hygiene (WASH) in villages and slums in all developing countries, and in the process induce hygiene behaviour with civic pride for transition to clean villages and slums. We contribute to the leadership position of Europe in sustainability, international cooperation, peace and climate resilience by supporting projects involving:
- educational workshops,
- training of European and international students,
- development of content for education and training,
- research and tools creation for improving quality of life in poverty contexts,
- creation and diffusion of low cost eco-innovations, pro-poor innovations, grass-roots innovations, frugal innovations – that improve life quality and well being,
- evaluation of innovations developed by us or others for coping with poverty,
- communication and sharing of our knowledge for free with all,
- international and interdisciplinary student internships and volunteer projects that bridge societal divides while contributing to the personal growth of students/volunteers.