Imagine carrying a 25 kg briefcase on your head and walking a distance of 2.5km every day to office. Now imagine having to do this tedious task three times, every single day. This is typically what every Indian woman in rural India is required to do to fulfill the water needs of her family, resulting in severe back and neck disorders and taking up more than 25% of her day.
Identifying a need for change, Enactus H.R. College initiated Project Jalvruddhi, aimed at providing a simplified and time-efficient water transportation and purification mechanism, reducing the physical strain previously associated with this task. Enactus HRC is a chapter of an international not for profit organization ‘Enactus’ that connects students, academic and business leaders by using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better more sustainable world.
Shikha Thakore, President of Enactus HRC says “In 5 years through our Project we aim to improve the standard of living of 1000 rural villages by providing an effective water collection system that gives them more time to earn a livelihood for themselves”. Extensive on-field research in over 20 villages in Wada district of Maharashtra revealed that headloading (the practice of carrying matkas/earthen pots on the head) continues to be the pre-dominant form of water collection in rural villages. The girls in these rural areas also have to accompany their mothers to faraway sources of water, depriving them of time for their education.
To alleviate these problems, Enactus HRC’s Project Jalvruddhi aims at the distribution of a 50-litre water drum, known as the water wheel, manufactured by Wello, making it possible for women to quickly complete their water collection task in one trip, with little or no physical damage or exhaustion. Furthermore, to counter the spread of waterborne diseases in rural India, the water wheel is distributed along with Shudhu pills, which are water purification pills manufactured by the Wockhardt Foundation. The use of the water wheel also enables the women to devote the rest of their time (3-4 hours per day) thus saved towards a source of gainful employment.
In the next stage of the Project, these women are given employment opportunities, by putting their skills to efficient use for production of tote bags for Enactus HRC. The training, material and sale are handled by Enactus HRC.
Aruna Hare, one of the beneficiaries of the water wheel says, “Earlier all the women of the family would have to go to collect the water and carry the load of 3 matkas (equal to 15 litres) on our head, even upto the last trimester of pregnancy. But now that we can transport 50 litres of water in one go, our expecting daughters will not have to bear such physical strain, as one person can complete the task in a single trip.” The first buyer of the water wheel, a primary school teacher in the Dhapad village of Wada, who uses the wheel for the benefit of the students, says “Now with the water wheel only 2 children need to go to the well to get the water needed in the school as opposed to the 10 children who were previously appointed for the same.”
Through Project Jalvruddhi, Enactus HRC aims to not only improve the quality of rural life and the way of consumption of the most essential of our basic necessities, but also to help them invest the time saved into earning a regular income and bringing them one step closer to the benefits of modern technology.
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