This summer, drought once again afflicts India's Andhra Pradesh State. But for the residents of the remote village of Y. Kothapalli, there's one very significant change. Now they have a bore-well within the village bringing up fresh, clean water.
“Our village is safe this summer from the water scarcity problem,“ said Mrs. Cinnakka, who lives in Y. Kothapalli. “If this bore-well had not been installed, we would have been in much trouble, like previous years.“
Y. Kothapalli is inhabited by Dalits, India's lowest caste, often called Untouchables. Where the caste system is still observed, they are not allowed to collect water in neighborhoods where higher-caste families live.
Since 1994, the grassroots nonprofit Sri K. Pitchi Reddy Educational and Welfare Society (SPREAWS) has been dedicated to the empowerment of low-caste, tribal, and other indigenous marginalized people in Andhra Pradesh through the provision of basic necessities and education. Many of them are desperate for a reliable source of pure water.
TPRF partnered with SPREAWS to fund the drilling of bore-wells in 15 of the neediest villages. Over the past six months, says SPREAWS President C.S. Sajid Hussain, all 15 wells have been drilled. A youth volunteer in each village has been trained to maintain the wells with the help of a Village Water Committee.
“The Water Committees in all 15 villages gather once a month to discuss the functioning of their bore-wells,” he said. “SPREAWS is regularly conducting health and hygiene awareness campaigns in each village to create awareness among the people about preventive methods of various diseases such as typhoid, cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, jaundice, and malaria.”
The new well has dramatically changed the lives of the women of Y. Kothapalli, who used to spend most of their time in the search of water.
“We used to go on foot to an agricultural farm bore-well at the outskirts of the village when electricity was available,” Mrs. N. Sanjamma explained. “Power is available for only six or seven hours per day. The power-cut timing is uncertain, and sometimes, when we had walked for half an hour to the field in the harsh sun, the power would be off. It was a big problem for us. Sometimes, even though we would wait in the field for long hours for the power to come on, we would not get water. Now, with the gift of a drinking-water bore-well our problem is solved.”
Mr. N. Danamaiah, a village elder, reported that the bore-well is supplying domestic water not only to Y. Kothapalli, but also to people in neighboring villages.
Because of the bore-well project, Mr. Hussain said, about 4,500 people are able to get safe drinking water in all seasons.
“We express our wholehearted thankfulness to our generous donor organization, The Prem Rawat Foundation,” he said, “which was kind enough to help us with their grant-in-aid.”