When the members of RC Nasik, D 3030, visited the rural communities surrounding Nasik for a dental cum health check-up camp, reality knocked them hard on their faces when they saw the villagers suffer from lack of clean and safe water. “We saw women folk walk miles daily to collect water from open holes dug in dried-up ponds, which were invariably contaminated,” says Vivek Jaykhedkar, the Club President. The Rotarians explained to the villagers about the dangers of drinking unsafe water which was the major cause for 30 per cent of diseases.
They then surveyed the areas in April and applied for Global Grants (GG) to provide borewells to bring water for the villages. As the GG did not materialise they associated with Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd who agreed to bear 75 per cent of the total cost as part of their CSR initiative.
The initial plan of drawing water from nearby dams was dropped due to high costs, (approximately Rs 1,000,000 per village). Subsequently, the team dug borewells in the villages Hiroochi Wadi, Patryachi Wadi, Talyachi Wadi and Doryachi Wadi. Wherever the water tables were detected in each of these villages, the villagers readily provided a part of their land to accommodate the borewell and “an affidavit was signed to this effect between the landlord and our Club,” said Jaykhedkar.
With a total cost of Rs 2,62,000 borewells were dug in all the four villages and hand pumps installed which were inaugurated by Harshawardhan Navadhe, Mahindra’s Zonal CSR head in August. The villagers, especially the women were relieved and thanked the Rotarians. “We used to wake up very early everyday and walk long distances to collect water and return only after 5 to 6 hours carrying heavy pots on our heads, we took our girls to help us. Now I can sleep a little longer and work an extra hour too. My daughter can also go to school,” says a much relaxed Champa of Hiroochi Wadi village.
The members of RC Nasik, have lined up many projects on literacy, sanitation, cleanliness and solar electrification in these four villages adopted by them.