These two small tribal villages are situated in a predominantly farming area, in which the people work mainly in agriculture, as general labourers or in local brickworks. The income generated from this work is meagre and unreliable, averaging at around R200 (£3) for men and R150 for women per day. The villagers live in mud huts with palm leaf roofs up to five kilometres away from the local ponds and hand pumps from which they drew water. At times when villagers were unable to collect water from the pumps, the dirty water in the ponds would be used for washing, bathing and drinking. The poor health resulting from this lack of sanitation stopped the adults from working and prevented children from going to school, and the time taken to fetch this poor quality water stopped the women from working.
On this project, Just a Drop partnered with local NGO El Shaddai Ministries Trust (EMT), who realizes that the poor physical conditions of the tribal people are significant barriers to them ever being able to improve their situation.
As a result of the lack of electricity in the village, a hand pump was built to provide the village with water and sanitation was provided by the construction of a toilet and wash area.
The water supply was originally planned to be the same as Thalimangalam. However, during the project construction the council extended the electricity supply to the village and EMT were able to change the hand pump to an electric pump in the village. A sanitation block was also built with four stalls.
The 180 people of these communities are no longer hindered by their lack of water and have expressed relief that they do not need to spend money on medicine for water borne diseases, or enter the bush filled with snakes in the wet season. When the villagers of Thalimangalam had to collect water from the further well they were sometimes stopped by the higher caste people. This project has given the villagers more than water: it has empowered them and enabled them to live as equals to those around them, without having to wait for permission from others. Mr Murugam, 28, says, “For drinking water we walk 3-5km and bring it back in containers. Sometimes the high caste people do not let us bring the water so we have to drink the pond water but you can see the animals use it too… Previously we faced a lot of health problems due to the use of lake water, nowadays we don’t face such problems”.
Date of Project: April 2012