American Jewish Committee Donates $50,000 To Rebuild Hindu, Muslim Schools Damaged in Massive Quake in India

March 18, 2001

March 18, 2001 -  NEW YORK -- American Jewish Committee President Bruce M. Ramer, visiting the earthquake damaged Indian town of Ahmedabad, announced a donation of $50,000 to meet short and long term humanitarian needs.

The donation comes primarily from AJC’s Harriet and Robert Heilbrunn Humanitarian Fund, which was established by the Heilbrunn family to support humanitarian relief through the American Jewish Committee. The Heilbrunn Fund contributed $25,000. An additional $15,000 was contributed by Harold and Nicki Tanner, and $10,000 came from AJC members.

Among the projects AJC will fund are the substantial repairs to two schools in Ahmedabad, one serving some 700 mostly Muslim pupils in grades K-10, the other for 11th and 12th grades serving 2,500 pupils of Hindu, Muslim and Christian background. The AJC delegation met with administrators, faculty and students at the schools.

AJC funds will repair the damaged Nelson’s Schools so that they can reopen for the next school term in June. The main wing will be renamed the American Jewish Committee Heilbrunn Wing.

The AJC earthquake relief also will be used to purchase medical equipment for the trauma care unit at the Sheth Vadilal Sarabhai General Hospital in Ahmedabad. The AJC delegation met with the hospital’s senior staff and toured the wards in which hundreds of survivors of the late January earthquake from across the large Indian state of Gujarat are still receiving treatment.

The AJC delegation led by Mr. Ramer also included Madeline Peerce and Jason Isaacson, director of AJC’s Office of Government and International Affairs.

The AJC delegation also met with leaders of the 300-member Ahmedabad Jewish community to plan joint humanitarian projects. In Bombay, home to India’s largest Jewish community, totaling 3,000, AJC had extensive meetings with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in India and with ORT-India to plan joint earthquake relief.

Since its establishment in 1998, AJC’s Heilbrunn Humanitarian Fund has supported relief efforts for Turkish earthquake victims, including building a school; substantial aid to Muslim refugees from Kosovo; earthquake relief in El Salvador; repair of three California synagogues damaged by arsonists; and, aid to victims of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Mitch in Central America.
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Contact: Kenneth Bandler (212) 891-6771

        Lisa Fingeret Roth (212) 891-1385

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