When India went into lockdown on March 28, 2020, access to food and water for vulnerable families became even more difficult. People were not allowed to venture beyond 3KM from their home without a pass. Migrant workers, mostly men, were forced out of their homes in large cities and forced to travel by foot for days without food and water.
The good news is that women who had water wheels were still able to get clean water! They were able to use the water to make rice, dahl (beans), and breads. They could keep their hands clean and insist on good handwashing for their children.
They could also keep their businesses going. Many own at least one water buffalo and sell milk to earn income. Some have a small vegetable garden to feed their families and to sell to their neighbors.
We're so thankful for those who continue to give these life-empowering tools to vulnerable women. Quite literally, these wheels are keeping them and their families in good health during the time of COVID-19.
Water wheels help women get water to their homes for their laundry businesses or for the cows and water buffalo they use to sell milk. The wheels are essential tools in remote areas where water is scarce. Not having one is like relying on public transportation to get to work from rural areas, unreliable and time-consuming.
We are very grateful for every donation, especially those who continue to give every month. It would be very helpful, while the weather is still moderate and before the rainy season comes, to see more people give the full $200 for a water wheel. There are women waiting for this tool that will feed their family, prevent labor trafficking, and give them an opportunity to provide for themselves.
Also, this is a time of great unrest in India, which always impacts the poor and marginalized the most. We need to help them now, today, before things get even worse and before our teams' travel is limited for safety precautions.
Thank you for keeping this lifeline alive for the women and children of India. They don't know you, but you are changing their lives.
We continue to provide water wheels to families which has so many benefits beyond clean water. For instance, it keeps women safe at home, rather than walking for miles in open fields which makes the vulnerable to attacks by men. It keeps children in school because they don't have to go get the water every day. It keeps livestock watered so that the family can sell the milk to provide food and shelter. And, it waters small gardens that feed the family and sometimes produce enough to sell in the marketplace.
We will never outgrow the need for water wheels, especially in northern India, but every one lifts a family just a little further beyond poverty, out the reach of violence and trafficking, and provides health and safety right at home.
Our team just returned from India where we met with the head of Economic Empowerment for DFN. We saw pictures of these water wheels at work and learned about the importance of them.
Basically, we give the large water wheels to women primarily in the northern regions of India where they have to walk quite a distance for clean water. The water wheel allows them to push large quantities of water across the dry terrain where they use it to cook, clean, and hydrate.
Some women use the water for their small laundry business. The very small income means her family will eat and stay in their meager home. Many of the children in homes with water wheels also attend our schools. The water wheels literally provide a boost to the entire community.
Your support for the on-going water wheels project brings clean water to families and clean water keeps families, and communities, healthy.
We wish we could provide pictures. Unfortunately, we do not often get to visit in the northern part of India. Please know, however, that in our meeting with the leader of these efforts, we saw pictures of water wheels in action. It's a beautiful thing to see a woman empowerd to care for her family. Thank you for your continued partnership!
Kamlesh’s wife is an active member of the local economic development programming. Her name is Jamnadavi. There are 7 people living as a family in their home, including three children. Jamnadavi’s health has not been well for the last 2 years. She is not able to carry heavy weights, so the work of bringing water for the family and other extra heavy work is now being done by Kamlesh. The Water Wheel was a big gift for their family. Kamlesh used to carry water pots to collect the water. He was feeling ashamed of their poverty and extremely uncomfortable. He was not able to go on time for work because he had to do this laborious household task. But now the situation is changed because of the Water Wheel. He brings the water happily and quickly. He saves so much time he can do all the household chores and make it to work on time. he is bringing water happily form water hand pump which is little far from their house, he is able to save some time for other work also so he is helping to her wife in other work and also he is going every work also. Water wheel is big blessing for their family.
Bimla lives in a very hilly area which exacerbates the crisis she faces in collecting water for her family. There are 6 family members living in her house, all of whom require a lot of water for their daily cooking, drinking and bathing. To conserve water, they were bathing in the local river. That was extremely difficult for the women in the family. The nearest well was 4 kilometers from their house and making the trip 5 times a day to collect water in their pots was more than Bimla could take, especially with the hilly terrain. Now that she has a Water Wheel, though, she feels that her life is very easy. Now instead of up to 6 hours to get the water, it only takes her 1-2 hours per day. She saves so much energy and time. Her children think the Water Wheel is fun! They eagerly help in getting the water now, too.
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