Response to Disaster

The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) has always reached out to support people affected by natural and human-made crisis. Way back in 1947, the Institute sent a faculty and student team to Kurukshetra to work with refugees who came from Pakistan.

Recalling the work done, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who had observed the TISS team at work, said at the inauguration of Deonar Campus in 1954: We found the difference in their work and the work of many others who were earnest and had done their best, but who did not have the training to do it well. There is a difference between the trained workers and the merely enthusiastic workers. Since then, the TISS has responded to various crises such as floods, riots, cyclones, earthquakes and industrial disasters in different parts of the country. The Institute's work is centred around relief management; psychosocial support to women, children and other vulnerable groups; assessment of loss and impact to lives, property, livelihoods, environment and infrastructure; rehabilitation and development needs; mobilisation of human resources for relief and rehabilitation work; facilitating community participation in the reconstruction and rehabilitation process; policy and programme development support to government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs); coordination of civil society participation; training and capacity-building of personnel engaged in relief and rehabilitation work; publication and documentation; and conflict resolution and peace building initiatives.

The TISS has worked in disasters not just in Maharashtra, but in various parts of the country. The academic calendar is suitably modified to ensure participation of students and staff alike. Vacations are shortened and the entire Institute, in a spirit of co-operation, works longer hours to ensure that student exams and the academic schedule are not really disturbed. Expenses are partly met by faculty members and students and donors come forward to support this involvement. In most instances, the Institute has worked closely with State Governments and the district administration. In recent years, NGOs have also recognised the role of the Institute and its volunteer teams and have sought to collaborate.

75 Years Of Response to Disasters