A couple of hours south of Bhubaneswar is the village that Rehana and her family call home. Rehana’s property is near the village primary school, where her children once attended. Almost all adults now, some of Rehana’s daughters are married with children of their own. The family share the house, enjoying one another’s support and resources. While some work others babysit the grandkids and cook. Rehana’s youngest daughter, Sumalila, contributes to the household income by sewing and selling garments.

Rehana's daughter
“When my husband went to work, Sumalila and I walked together to collect the water. It hurt my back and often made her late to school. I am quite happy we do not do this anymore.”

Homes in Rehana’s village are simple. Made of thatch and mud and concrete, the humble structures offer a haven for rest and play, but rarely do they have water or sanitation connections. While her husband worked and her children went to school, Rehana walked up to six hours a day to get water for cooking, laundry, and baths. She retrieved the water from a water pump managed by the government. 

Rehana's village

As with many municipally managed water sources, the water was available infrequently. Running some days, shut off others. So, on the days it was unavailable, Rehana purchased water from a vendor. In either case, Rehana paid high prices for water in time and money.

Rehana's water pump

For these reasons, households like Rehana’s find the small loans offered by’s partners in India to be affordable, practical solutions to their family’s water and sanitation needs. Through her local microfinance bank, Rehana took out a loan amounting to 10,000INR which is about $145USD to pay for the construction of a water connection on her property.

Rehana's grandkids

Less than two years later her loan was paid off. Her family continues to enjoy access to water at home. On their way through productive days, Rehana and her children can fill vessels of water just a few feet from their door, rather than miles from home.

Rehana and her daughter

Rehana's story was made possible by the Swiss Re Foundation.

Go here to learn more about how we are making water and sanitation loans accessible to those who need them the most.