Grandmother’s gift: a BioSand Water Filter

January 27, 2017 • Asia
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A Grandmother in Nepal Gives the Gift of Safe Water

December, 2016—In Canada, women eagerly awaiting the birth of their first grandchild usually prepare by gift-shopping for everything from baby clothes to cribs, and strollers to the latest high-tech infant monitoring systems.

But in Nepal and other developing countries, the preparations and baby gifts are much more modest.

“…it’s very well-known here how these filters improve people’s health. I want that for my family.”   – Laxminiya

Laxminiya Chaudhari’s first gift to her grandchild involves methodically cleaning the sand that goes into a BioSand Water Filter. By providing a couple of days of free labor, and paying a nominal $6 fee towards the full $150 cost of a filter and related health and hygiene training, Lyaminiya is ensuring that her entire household—including that eagerly anticipated first grandchild—will have a filter within the next month.

“I’m very happy to do this,” Laxminiya says, “because it’s very well-known here how these filters improve people’s health. I want that for my family.”

The only source of drinking water in her village in the rice-growing region of eastern Nepal is a muddy pond in which children often swim, and animals drink and defecate. The water is so dirty that all 260 families in her poverty-plagued community are constantly struggling against the energy-draining effects of diarrhea and other gastro-intestinal ailments.

And so when Laxminiya learned that a neighboring village had experienced a dramatic reduction in diarrheal diseases after receiving BioSand Water Filters from Samaritan’s Purse and its Nepalese partner organization, she was eager to see similar filters installed in all the homes in her village too.

An important gift

Laxminiya sees her two days of sand-cleaning as the most important gift she could possibly give her grandchild. Asked about the additional $6 payment towards the filter’s overall cost, she said it’s nothing compared to how much lost income her family experiences whenever someone can’t work because of another bout of diarrhea, or the cost of seeking medical treatment.

Local community leader Birendra Chaudhary says every family in the village will be receiving a BioSand Water Filter plus health and hygiene training “because they’re all demanding them” after learning that 90 per cent of the people in a neighboring village were no longer suffering from diarrheal diseases after Biosand Filters were installed there. “They are no longer suffering,” he said. “We want that too.”

Birendra noted there are still many villages and towns in Nepal, and in dozens of other developing countries, that are still relying on dirty ponds or rivers for their drinking water. That is why someone on our planet is dying every 37 seconds from the effects of dirty drinking water and poor sanitation and hygiene, the World Health Organization reports.

“We thank all those Canadians who have donated so that our community can have safe drinking water,” Birendra said. “But there are still many more communities that are suffering. They need filters too.”

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Water ProjectsAn estimated 842,000 people die each year from diseases caused by unclean water, inadequate sanitation, and poor hygiene habits. The majority of these are children in developing countries. Providing clean water, coupled with health and hygiene education, is perhaps the most effective measure we can take in preventing infectious disease. Samaritan's Purse works around the world to provide clean water and promote safe hygiene practices.

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