What if after thirty five years of struggling to find one of life’s most basic needs, you got access to it? This is Selvi. Selvi’s story ends well, but the thirty five years of her life prior to intervention were suppressing and difficult. Until recently, Selvi spent many hours per day finding and carrying water. After marrying and having children, a typical morning for her included walking a long distance to get water to cook and clean. The common well near her house was not operating, and according to Selvi, those responsible have never come to repair it. So, she would go out very early to get water before her husband and their two kids would wake. She carried two vessels to and from a source shared by twelve other families.
The two vessels of water certainly did not support the family’s needs for a day, nor was it known to be safe to drink. Because they needed more water to cook, clean and bathe, Selvi and her husband looked for a solution. Their search led them to a community health meeting offered by Water.org and SCOPE. The meeting turned out to be very useful as Selvi and nine other women from her village learned about the WaterCredit loan process, and the documents required for installing a household connection. After a discussion with the health educator from SCOPE, each of the women chose to move forward with taking on a micro loan to build a water connection at their homes. Selvi’s husband was very supportive of this decision as he felt the rate of the loan was reasonable, and between his and Selvi’s jobs, they could afford to repay it in a timely manner.
Within a week the work was complete and Selvi’s family enjoyed safe, clean water. Not only do they now have enough for their survival needs, but Selvi shares her water with a neighbor. After thirty five years of struggling, Selvi feels her life is better. She feels the solution has empowered her because she can contribute to her household income by working as a gem cutter, not being burdened with the arduous daily task of collecting water.
This project was made possible by a generous grant from the Bank of America Foundation.