SAFE DRINKING WATER, Maharashtra
The life of any house wife in Ramraiwadi is almost the same; the routine activities of waking up early, cleaning the house, cooking food and taking care of other chores. The male members are mostly employed with the nearby industries. Chandrakala's life also follows the same pattern, her husband works in a press and her son works in a company. The only difference between she and the other women in her village is that whenever she gets free time, she goes to other villagers' houses and discusses about clean water, health and their correlation. This transition happened over time. During the lean season, the family got water from MIDC which they stored in traditional matkis (earthen pots) and used it for cooking and drinking. The water was there but so were the health problems. They were surprised to learn that the water they were consuming was the reason behind the majority of their health complications. They had to spend nearly INR 500 on every visit to hospital as the children suffered from vomiting, dysentery and stomach pain. The medical expense was too much for her family whose monthly income was around INR 7,000. The other villagers faced the same plight.
It was during this time that United Breweries and Dilasa Janvikas Pratishthan visited the village and carried out awareness campaigns regarding the problems of unsafe drinking water.
“Janseva (serving the people) is one thing which I have always liked doing, so when the Dilasa representatives came, I decided to help them in implementing the project. If there is a chance to get clean water, why let go of it?” asks Chandrakala.
Chandrakala has since become the resource person for her village. She helped and guided the entire team in spreading awareness. Her enthusiasm in the project has been an inspiration for other women. She was reminiscent of what it was like before the introduction of the water purifier;
“Those were terrible times, it was like we had water but it was as good as it not being there. We could not use it. It would smell bad and was yellowish in color. We got diseases also. At the same time we could not even live without water. Now it's quite good, we still use the MIDC water, but we fill it in the purifier first. It is clear and does not smell at all.”
She sends her grandchildren to school with water bottles filled with safe and clean water as the water available in the school is not of good quality. She makes sure that the filter and purifier is regularly washed and kept clean. Chandrakala asserts that none of this would have been possible without the UB project. She is forever thankful for this project and is still actively involved in mobilising the village women. The success of this project in Ramraiwadi would never have been possible without the efforts of Chandrakala, who even though may seem like doing nothing different from other housewives, did an exceptional job of mobilising the people and spreading the thought of “Clean water, Safe water.”