A long awaited dream of Prashanthagiri community came true on June 15th. They no longer have to go down the hill to collect the water. Now it is at their door steps. Three of our water projects under the Water for Life scheme have become a unique intervention assuring pure drinking water to a number of families faced with acute water scarcity in a remote village of Wayanad.
Twenty-four poor families are happy now, especially the ladies. They are now relieved from the heavy workload of carrying water from a long distance. They are blessed with having enough water for their domestic use. For the last number of months, both the Profugo team and the whole community were striving hard to get the project done. With the electrification of the pump houses in the first week of June, all the work related with the water projects is over. Next, we started thinking over the commissioning of it.
The whole community had the same opinion that the inauguration of the drinking water project should be a big get together for all of them. In this regard, the center of development (COD) and the village advisory body held some meetings with the rest of the community members and started preparations for the inauguration. The date was scheduled for June 15, 2013, and the sub-collector of Wayanad district was invited to be the chief guest of the day. Various committees were formed and each of the advisory body members was given a particular responsibility. In the meantime, the COD staff visited each beneficiary family, distributed flyers and personally invited community members to the inaugural ceremony.
Prashanthagiri village was going to witness a public function for the first time. Everyone was in high spirits. All were eagerly waiting for June 15th. As the community doesn’t have a facility to accommodate the whole community, the venue of inauguration was fixed to be in the courtyard of Mrs. Sindhu Sukumaran, one of our beneficiaries. The patio of the house was transformed as a temporary stage. On the day of the public function, almost all of the community members were present at the venue in the early morning. Every one was engaged in doing something to aid the preparations. A tent was erected in the courtyard of the house by the men folk while kids were arranging the chairs and decorating the stage. Women were busy with preparing ‘payasam’- (a delicious dessert served on special occasions in Kerala).
By 11 am, the venue was full of people. The inaugural ceremony started with a prayer song by the children in the Spoken English class. Mrs. Lissi Jose, the president of Thavinjal Grama Panchayath, the local political office, inaugurated the program. The sub-collector couldn’t attend due to an emergency meeting pertaining to monsoon related health concerns in the area. Dr. K. Abraham spoke about the sustainability of the project and the need for community involvement.
The interesting and most touching part of the program was a testimony given by Mrs. Sujaya Raju, one of the women working in our tailoring center. She was nervous when her name was announced. I saw her with trembling hands while getting on to the stage. For the first time in her life she was standing in front of a group. With a slow voice she started speaking. “I am an illiterate woman and I always remained at home preparing food for the family and looking after the children. I didn’t know what happened outside my family. I had to go a long way to collect the water. We were struggling hard to make our living, but after I started working at the tailoring center, my life has changed. Now many of us are having a daily income with which we are able to support our families.” It seemed that during the course of her testimony her voice had gained strength and she spoke confidently of the impact that these resources had realized in the life of her family.
The inauguration of the water project was an opportunity for the whole community to realize and celebrate the true worth of 1) access to clean water and 2) community. The experience of togetherness and hopes for a better tomorrow keeps them looking forward!