Rajima loves going to school but she must trek few kilometers away first to fetch water.
“It’s a long walk but it’s the only water source we have,” says Rajima.
She never minds the long trek but going to school was disrupted when Rajima and her sister, Runima got seriously ill due to water borne contamination.
“We had high fever and diarrhea,” says Rajima “We were too weak to even get up and missed school for three days.”
At first, mother Sabitri thought it was malaria but later on she learned it was a water-borne related contamination from the dirty water they collected.
“I was very worried. I knew many children die from diarrhea,” says Sabitri.
No access to clean water
Reports say that about 663 million people around the world have no access to clean water – about 522 million live in rural areas. Dirty water kills 5,000 children a day and nearly two million children a year die for want of clean water and proper sanitation.
In India, over 63 million people living in rural areas have no access to clean water.
Rajima’s family lives in Tepari village in hills of Daringbadi in Odisha, India. It wasn’t until 2014 that the village was finally connected with a motor road that made it possible for the community to have easier access to the facilities and services in Daringbadi that they lack in the village.
Access to safe and clean water is the perinnial problem in the village. The water they collected for drinking and washing purposes was contaminated and the residents didn’t know better than to drink it directly.
Without poor access to basic services, it was also difficult to seek timely help. The community had to rely on carrying the sick on a stretcher for four to five kilometers to Daringbadi town.
“Boiling the water from the village well was not a practice before. After joining the training, we learned the importance of boiling the water first to ensure that we drink it safe,” says Sabitri.
As part of the Water Sanitation and Hygiene program of World Vision India, community people in the village learned some practices to make their children healthy.
Clean water is underway
Rajima is happy to hear about the new water connection being installed by World Vision India. “This means I will no longer have to carry water in the morning and get late for school.
I’m happy that we will have clean and safe water to drink right at our doorstep. soon”
A total of 345 men, women and children will soon have access to clean and safe drinking water in Tepari village. Gravity filter pumps and water storage tanks are being installed to ensure the project is successful.
The village residents has decided that everyone should contribute toward the construction of the water filter system and thereafter pay a little every month to add to the maintenance fees.
Rajima and her sisters are among the students who look forward to a bright future – a healthy childhood free from illnesses.
“I like studying. My favourite subject is English. I want to become a teacher,” she says.
Rajima is excited to the day when the water construction will be completed. “I can now dream to accomplish more things and have the time to work towards it,” she said.
Watch out for our next story on how Rajima and her community are utilizing the new water pumps constructed by World Vision.