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In Pictures: The People of Drought-Hit TN Whose Lives You Are Changing by Helping Restore Lakes

Once the lake is restored, it will provide water to over 50 village communities in the region.

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The drought scouring Nagapattinam District in Tamil Nadu has devastated the people of the district and their livelihoods. Insufficient rainfall for years, receding groundwater levels and the burning heat of the sun have brought farming to a halt, compelling farmers to abandon their homes and find menial jobs in the city. There is hope though. The Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI) is restoring a dried-up lake in the village of Thiruvoimoor in the district, with funds raised from the readers of The Better India. Once the lake is restored, it will provide water to over 50 village communities in the region.

Once the lake is restored, it will provide water to over 50 village communities in the region.

A father and his two children walk cross the dried-up lake bed to reach a small pond where most of the community bathes.

The land has been devastated by the drought and the unrelenting heat. The soil is dry and cracked and most of the vegetation has died out, leaving behind only thorny bushes and some evergreen trees.

Strong winds that whip up dust storms deposit mud on everything in sight.

Join us to help 20,000 Villagers in drought-hit Nagapattinam by restoring its lakes and ponds

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Some of the people in Thiruvoimoor leave earthen pots full of water outside their houses so that passers-by can have a drink of cool water in the searing heat.

The children who mostly drink from these pots drink sparingly, so that there’s enough for everyone.

Often the task of fetching water for their homes falls on the shoulders of young women and older men.  The only source of water for daily use in Thiruvoimoor is a government-owned water tank. The supply is sporadic and the water is discoloured.

To access this water the young and the old have to climb a ladder and draw water through an opening in the roof of the tank.

The drought has destroyed farming throughout the region. Most of the farmers have migrated to cities to find low-paying temporary jobs.

The ones who have stayed back are unemployed and hang out by the lake in the evenings, watching the lake restoration work being carried out by the Environmentalist Foundation of India and hoping for better days.

The tough conditions have made the children strong and self-reliant. All the games that the young girls play revolve around them being ‘strong’ and they compete with each other and the boys in physical feats.

Many of the students at the local Industrial Training Institute come from farming families.

Although the drought has ruined the economies of their families, they haven’t abandoned their studies and started working as they intrinsically understand the value of having an education.

Many farmers have abandoned their farm animals and with no pastures for them to graze on, cattle and other farm animals survive on whatever fodder they can find.


Join us to help 20,000 Villagers in drought-hit Nagapattinam by restoring its lakes and ponds

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Life still blooms in the midst of the drought. The hardy people of Thiruvoimoor haven’t been beaten by the drought, and with a little help, their lives too can blossom.

Written by Jayapaul Anand.

About the author: Jayapaul Anand, a management trainer and leadership coach by profession, is also a scriptwriter and avid photographer. A breathless proponent of the power of narratives to move people and change lives, he co-founded TheTellTailProject to celebrate everyday tales of animals and their humans.
He is most at peace on the road.

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