Breathing Easier in India

In Tamil Nadu, community residents are often dependent on remote and unsafe connections for drinking water. Even when a public water tap is nearby, long lines can take up precious time that could be better spent on income generating opportunities.

To address this issue, and its local partners are empowering the poor through microloans, and enabling loan recipients to become customers of water and sanitation services with intrinsic rights. A majority (approximately 98 percent) of WaterCredit loan borrowers are women, most of whom bear the brunt of inadequate access to water and sanitation services.

Mrs. Thangaponnu, who lives in the East Vellanoor village, was accustomed to standing in long lines at a public water point. A chronic asthma condition prevented her from continuing to do this on a daily basis, so she asked her children to miss morning classes in school and collect water for the family. Sometimes the children would return from the water point with empty buckets, as the water utilities would occasionally shutoff the taps early.

Fortunately, Mrs. Rakkini, a loan and credit officer of Guardian (a partner), met with Mrs. Thangaponnu and her Joint Liability Group (JLG). With the support of her fellow JLG members, she completed a loan application form and received a micro loan for a household water connection. As a result of the water connection, her children no longer have to miss school to stand in long lines and the family has more time for beneficial activities.

This success story was submitted by’s partner organization, Guardian, and was made possible by a generous grant from the PepsiCo Foundation.

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Capital: New Delhi
Population of 1.2 billion
77 million lack access to safe water
769 million lack access to improved sanitation
59% of the total population lives on less than US$2 per day