In June of last year, tragic flash floods in India’s Himalayas took the lives of thousands of people, destroying entire villages in their wake. Whatever water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities many areas may have had were forever swept away. As a result, families suffered immensely, as often-times their only drinking water was heavily contaminated by silt, sewage, and even dead bodies.
In addition, without toilets and water with which to wash their hands, contagious diseases, such as cholera, threatened to spread from person to person, home to hamlet.
The Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA) team has been on the scene, providing Shudhu water purification tablets generously donated by our partner, the Wockhardt Foundation. From the United Sates came GIWA partner, Waves for Water, whose representatives courageously risked dangerous roads and footpaths in order to deliver water purification systems to schools and villages, while also demonstrating the importance of clean water to delighted residents.
Now, as we advise and assist in the rebuilding of schools and facilities, we are working with the Ministry of Education to provide clean water systems and more for all the students of our state . Moreover, we are working alongside India’s Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), BHEL, the Emami Foundation, Rotary Club and others to provide eco-friendly biotoilets for schools and populations in need.
In addition, understanding the crucial importance of sanitation and hygiene for the protection of the health and modesty of girls in particular GIWA and partners, Project Hope and the Divine Shakti Foundation, are helping to facilitate the re-building of schools and other structures on the outskirts of the disaster zone, so that all may be protected and uplifted by plentiful water, private toilet facilities, and places where they can wash their hands.