Chandra’s happiness knows no bounds. Her backaches have disappeared. Plagued by disharmony due to fights for limited access to water before, her village is now enjoying much better relationships. The simple reason- water is now accessible and available.
Chandra, 34, a mother of two teenage children, lives with her husband and in-laws in Saldada village in Lekhnath Municipality of Kaski District, Nepal. Her days are spent taking care of household chores and day-to-day needs of her family. Years ago, after she married her husband and came to live in his village, she was entrusted with the duty to fetch water for the family’s daily use and consumption.
I had to walk for almost half an hour everyday just to carry water from a natural spring. My back would hurt, but I had no choice.
“It was my responsibility to bring water from the nearby spring. I had to walk for almost half an hour everyday just to carry water from a natural spring and an extra hour to wash clothes in the river, and my back would hurt, but I had no choice,” recalls Chandra. “Often I had fights at the water source with other women like me who used to come to collect water as the water available in the spring was limited and we had to wait for it to refill.”
When World Vision first entered her village in 2005, the needs of the village were assessed and Chandra, like other community people, were asked what they needed the most.
The reply was: water.
World Vision then mobilised people in the village to build a 5,000 litre tank which would collect water from a nearby water spring. They also provided needed materials for construction and technical support.
Thirty-five families, including Chandra’s, provided the labour and worked for a period of around 50 days. By the end of the second month water was available by taps for each household.
A Water Users Committee was formed to ensure that the drinking water system is well maintained. They oversee the management and maintenance fund to which every household contributes a minimal amount.
With clean drinking water available at their front door, there have been many other changes in Chandra’s village. Water-borne illnesses has been reduced, women have time for other activities, and with the run-off water families have started to grow vegetables on plots of land around their houses.
Today her face lights up when she talks about fortunate she is with water being easily available now. “Not only me but my family, especially my mother-in-law who begins her day with thankfulness for the water with which she washes her face,” says Chandra, “When water came to our doorsteps, it was the happiest time of my life here after getting married.”