At Murraysmith, we’re proud to bring clean drinking water and sanitation to our communities, although it can easily be taken for granted on this side of the world. Our own David Stangel traveled to India to visit with communities that have never had access to adequate public infrastructure until Water For People stepped in.
Water For People’s impact model is ‘Everyone Forever’ and focuses on giving every person in a community, household, school, and clinic, lasting access to safe water and sanitation. For the improvements to be ‘Forever’, the organization trains individuals to provide regular preventative maintenance and timely repairs of water systems. In India, this is known as the Jalabandhu program, or Friends of Water. These caretakers earn about $100 per month and are typically responsible for maintaining more than 100 water points each month.
Since 1996, Water For People has built thousands of hand pumps and sanitation facilities for communities in and around Kolkata, India. This has a significant impact to the lives of women and girls, in particular, as they often bear the burden of collecting water. Thanks to projects in Kidderpore, Digambarpur, Banashyamnagar, and many other cities, young girls and women can go to school, grow more food, join the workforce, and get involved with their community instead of spending almost their entire day hauling water. Communities also see a massive reduction in illness due to having access to clean water and sanitation.
“The most moving part of the visit for me was to see the impact to high school age girls. These girls exhibited such pride in maintaining the facilities that Water For People had constructed. This group of young women was motivated, talented, and really inspired hope, wanting to further their education and become the next generation of leaders. I am sure they will grow up to improve the quality of life not just for themselves, but for many other Indians,” explains David Stangel.
The money that is donated to Water For People goes much farther in India than it would here in the US. “It’s amazing how much they can help for a small dollar amount. One of the projects we saw at a secondary school served 1,250 girls and was built for about $12,000. That would be almost a $130,000 project in the Pacific Northwest,” says David.
Murraysmith launched a Water For People payroll deduction program as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives in January. This allows team members to automatically deduct a fixed amount of their paycheck to the organization (which Murraysmith matches up to $100), and be eligible to attend Impact Tours (on us!). The next tour is headed to Peru in September.
If you’re interested in giving thousands of people hope for a better future, please visit Water For People’s donation page.