Naklesh cleaning dishes

Finding and gathering water for her family had always been a burden, but when Naklesh’s youngest son was diagnosed with a water-borne infection, she took action to ensure it never happened again.

From the moment she moved into her husband’s home in Kishoreganij, Bangladesh as a young bride, Naklesh had to contend with a daily struggle to source and secure water for her household. From the water needed for household chores, to the water she and her husband poured in their drinking glasses, the burden of gathering each drop fell at her feet.

Where her childhood home had a well of its own, her new husband and his family relied upon the generosity of wealthier neighbors and friends who lived nearly a kilometer away. And so Naklesh would make the journey many times each morning – carrying a full, heavy vessel one direction, and then returning with an empty pail to repeat the process.

Then there were the other days: days when her neighbors’ wells ran dry, or when an argument inserted itself between households, and made it impossible for Naklesh to ask her usual, friendly favor. On days like these, Naklesh was forced to resort to collecting the standing water in a nearby pond. These were her only options.

Naklesh’s family soon grew to include three beautiful children, and her quotidian struggle grew apace: now she had five mouths to feed, five sets of feet after which to sweep and mop, and five futures in her care. Finding and collecting safe water was more vital than ever.

Yet, even as Naklesh worked tirelessly to attend to the needs of her family, tragedy struck, and her youngest son was diagnosed with Typhoid. This debilitating, water-borne illness proved to be Naklesh’s breaking point. Seeing her son overcome with fever caused her to immediately begin the search for a solution that would keep harmful bacteria out of his water glass. When he recovered, and her family was once again hale and healthy, she intended to keep it that way.

The solution Naklesh found was simpler than she’d ever dreamed: by taking out a WaterCredit loan, she was able to construct a tube-well just in front of her home. The funds also allowed her to top the well with an arsenic-free, motorized pump which draws up safe water with ease from the aquifer deep below her feet.

Naklesh, her three healthy children, and her industrious husband now have access to safe water of their own. As Naklesh put it after taking a sip of the water she herself worked so hard to attain, “nowadays we are safe from water-borne diseases, and live in peace.”

This success story was made possible by a generous grant from IKEA Foundation.

Capital: Dhaka
Population of 160 million
20 million lack access to safe water
63 million lack access to improved sanitation
77% of the total population lives on less than US$2 per day