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Gurugram Teen’s Idea Is Helping 500 Homeless Folks Get 10,000 Litres of Water/Day!

Tavishi might be all of 15, but this Gurugram teen is making a difference to the lives of 500 abandoned and mentally-challenged persons, residents at the city-based Earth Saviours Foundation.

You see them all around you. At the street corner, left to fend alone. Sometimes when the signal turns red, they spread their arms out seeking alms, sometimes in shelter homes being nursed back to health by good samaritans.

But not many of us spare a moment to give them a second glance or contribute to improving their quality of life.

Tavishi might be all of 15, but this Gurugram teen is making a difference to the lives of 500 such abandoned and mentally-challenged persons, now residents at the city-based Earth Saviours Foundation.Gurugram Teen's Idea Is Helping 500 Homeless Folks Get 10,000 Litres of Water/Day!

A student of Pathways School, Tavishi has installed a rainwater system in the Foundation’s premises which is ensuring that the residents can meet their daily requirement of 10,000 litres of clean water.

In an interview with The Better India, the teenager spoke about the incident that triggered her to think about her project, Endless River.

“When I was returning from school and was stuck in the traffic jam due to incessant rains, I remember looking out and watching how every drop of water ran off the concrete road and went to waste. And despite how popular rainwater harvesting as a technique is, it is rare to see people or institutions make a conscious effort of implementing it in their daily lives,” she says.

Having been affiliated with Earth Saviours Foundation through her school as well as her family, she revealed how she learnt about the acute shortage of water they were facing.

“With 500 people to cater to, the Foundation was primarily reliant on a borewell for their water needs. But as the groundwater in the city continues to deplete, they had started facing issues and had to keep digging deeper. I decided to help them with a cost-effective yet efficient method of ensuring a sustainable water source.”


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Time was running out, and Tavishi knew she had only a month until the monsoons hit Gurugram to execute the project. And the biggest challenge was getting the funding required, to the tune of Rs 1,30,000.

“It was a big amount considering how I had never worked on a large-scale project. But my school was extremely supportive. They gave me a letter on official stationery which gave credibility to my project when I was seeking funds. I started going door-to-door. But time was running out, and I had to get the funds to kickstart the project. So my sister told me to set up a fundraiser on the crowd-sourcing platform- Ketto.”

In three days, they were able to surpass their initial target of Rs 1,30,000 and raised over Rs 1,78,000.

Promotion

“People not only from India but also from the US and Singapore donated to the campaign. It was this support that motivated me to pursue the project with more rigour. It was critical to its success. The excess money that we had was donated to the NGO towards the medical needs of its inmates,” she adds.

Several resource persons contributed to the success of the project by guiding and mentoring Tavishi. The Director and General Manager of her school, Mr Sukhbir, helped her with the preliminary research for rainwater harvesting. He helped her collate data on the average litres of water an individual required per day and understand how the system worked since the school had installed one such system in its premises.

IPS Officer Renuka Mishra who had set up a large-scale rainwater harvesting project at the National Police Academy also played an important role in guiding the teen.

“She helped me understand the basic components required to install the system and use the location and geography of the NGO to my advantage and make it more efficient and sustainable.”

Tavishi may have executed the project in the northern state, but motivation and continual guidance came from the south. Thousands of miles away, the much-acclaimed ‘Rain Man of Chennai’, Mr Sekhar Raghavan, helped her narrow her research and make it financially viable and location-specific.

On the ground, senior engineer Mani Mishra helped her tremendously in executing the project. Whether it was finding the right contractor or supervising daily work on the site, his support and guidance helped Tavishi implement the project in the short time frame.

Working of the system

The NGO was divided as per its location into two parts.

The idea was to accumulate all the rainwater from the higher ground gushing to the lower ground in a catchment area. This was in the form of two borewells, 20-feet deep each. This helped replenish the groundwater table and cater to the NGO’s daily water requirements.

It was a one-time investment, a permanent solution and required no maintenance.

The project was up and running by the first week of July and has been helping the NGO ever since.


Read More: Brilliant Teen From Andhra Village Makes Eco-Friendly Toothbrush Using Pumpkin Plant


Some challenges along the way

Shedding light on the challenges, the teen who has competed in swimming on the national level, says, “The time-crunch was challenging. While I was working on the project, I was also managing my swimming, writing exams, and fundraising. I would have swimming sessions in the morning and the evening. But my family helped me juggle. They would often proofread the content and updates that I put out for the campaign.”

On the completion of the project, the NGO thanked the youth changemaker for her efforts. “The happiness on their faces was unmatched. From the required permissions to the data required, they played a major role in supporting me wholeheartedly. I am glad I was able to help them make a difference to the lives of the less fortunate persons they are working for.”


Attention young innovators! India’s biggest youth innovation challenge is here. Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog & The Better India present Innovation Marathon 2018 — a nation-wide challenge open to those under the age of 18 with innovations that can solve some of India’s most pressing issues.

Have an innovation?

Unable to view the above button? Click here


Like others of her generation, Tavishi believes in the power of social media. “If we join hands and reach out to people from across the world to take such projects up, we can help change lives,” she signs off.

We couldn’t agree more. More power to you, Tavishi!

If this story inspired you, get in touch with Tavishi Singh at tavishi.singh03@gmail.com.

(Edited by Shruti Singhal)

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