Duo's conservation drive makes Haryana village water sufficient
In the second part of the five-part inspiring stories series, we look at two students of the Sri Ram School who team up to work on a social initiative based on water conservation, one of the sustainable development goals of the United Nations
In 2015 the United Nations in its general assembly enumerated 17 sustainable development goals under the aegis 'envision 2030.' The term sustainable development can be understood as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to fulfil their requirements. As the name suggests, the aim of sustainable development is to harmonize our economic, environmental and social needs for now and future.
In May 2016, Sia Bishnoi and Taahira Bhalla of The Sri Ram School were teamed up together and encouraged to work on a social initiative based on one of the sustainable development goals of the United Nations. Since the importance of a strong water conscience is put deep into the minds of Sri Ram students, Sia and Taahira ended up choosing the sixth goal of water and sanitation. They initiated "project drakht-tapping the miracle tree" in consonance with the guidelines outlined by TGELF- the global educational leadership foundation in May 2016.
One would assume that in such times of development and prosperity that we witness around, hygienic water wouldn’t be, well at least shouldn’t be a challenge for any part of the civilized world. The well-ensconced segment of our society would be astounded and justifiable so to learn that just a couple of hours from the national capital of Delhi, there is a village called Ferozepur Meo in Mewat district in the state of Haryana where the local population till 2016 was grappling with this problem of unavailability of clean water. The villagers were forced by their circumstances to use contaminated water for their daily needs- drinking, cooking, bathing and so on. The concomitant epidemic in the form of ill health, stomach ailments, premature aging and general detrimental physical condition of the people in that area was an obvious impact of the poor water hygiene.
Taahira and Sia, moved by what they observed in the village, devoted themselves to allaying the plight of the people. They devised a three-pronged strategy which entailed identifying potable water from an underground source close to the village, drawing water from that source to the village center with a solar powered water pump and storage of water in clean tanks at the village center. Stress on clean energy was reflected in the use of solar panels to power the water system.
Sustainable development approach goes beyond a one-time solution. Besides, it was incumbent on the girls to develop a permanent mechanism of water purification so as to make their efforts more comprehensive. During the course of their extensive research, they stumbled upon a miracle tree called Moringa Olefeira popularly known as drumstick tree. This tree along with numerous medicinal benefits is effective in purifying water. The seeds from the mature pod of this tree have incredible coagulation properties, which help bind impurities to the protein of the seed. As a part of the project, 400-500 trees were planted in the village.
Taahira and Sia conducted workshops enlightening the villagers not just on the need and ways of water purification but also emphasized the relevance of water conservation. It was an all-encompassing water management endeavour.
Such an elaborate exercise will obviously require financial support. The girls’ acumen was at work as they were able to generate over 7.50 lacs by effectively utilizing the various social media platforms to draw attention to the appalling conditions in the village and their noble task. They even sought assistance and guidance of an NGO called “Farmer” to advance their efforts. In just two months considerable progress was achieved with the installation of solar panels, water pumps, tanks and tree plantation. It took about 6 months before the villagers could draw as much as 30000 litres of clean water.
The human need for potable water is perpetual hence the efforts in this direction remain a work in progress. Taahira and Sia enthused by the response and the results continue to strive and eventually transfer the ownership and management of the project to a local village team.
Well as the saying goes, for a one-off help- give the person a fish, for an eternal benefit, teach the person to fish.
DISCLAIMER: mid-day and its affiliates shall have no liability for any views, thoughts and comments expressed on this article.
Centre making various efforts to conserve water: Prakash Javadekar