Two 17-year-old girls in Delhi have pledged to provide pure drinking water to residents of slums in and around Delhi.
Manya Kalra and Sana Kharbanda are students at Shri Ram School. Their crowd funded initiative ‘Elixir Shudh Paani ki Shapath’, has managed to raise a whopping sum of around Rs. 4 lakh in four months to install water purifiers in the homes of slum dwellers in Delhi.
Seventy water purifiers have already been distributed among the households of Chakkarpur settlement in Gurgaon so far.
With their successful crowd funding campaign on Ketto, they now have fresh funding and are planning to give away more such purifiers in the first week of December.
The duo has wanted to do something for the underprivileged for a long time now. But they zeroed in on the idea of giving away water purifiers only after visiting some slum areas like Chakkarpur and Aya Nagar in and around Delhi. They interacted with the women and children there and realised that unavailability of clean drinking water was one of the biggest worries these people faced.
“The water is contaminated with chemicals and other impurities; sometimes it’s visibly muddy and unclean. Even after boiling the water before drinking, they aren’t sure about it. The children catch several water-borne diseases quite easily,” says Manya.
Seeing the situation first hand and realizing the scope of the problem, Manya and Sana became determined to help in whatever way they could.
“We’ve always known that lack of clean, drinking water is a problem but hearing 8-year-old Fiza say, ‘Humein mitti wala paani peena padta hai (we have to drink muddy water)’ is when it really hit us. It breaks your heart to see little children and even grown adults talk about wanting pure water with tears in their eyes. That’s when we knew we had to do this,” says Manya.
Once they had decided they wanted to work on this issue, they came up with the idea of distributing water purifiers. They teamed up with Tata Chemicals and chose the Tata Swach Cristella Plus filter, which is a non-electric and economical, yet effective, purifier. On learning that this project is a social initiative, Tata Chemicals agreed to service the purifiers for free for one year.
“The filter’s bulb needs replacement after two years. The company is providing an extra bulb along with the filter and their technicians are coming with us to these areas to explain the operation of the filter and the procedure of changing the bulb,” says Manya.
The cost of one purifier, including servicing for two years, is Rs 1500. So far, the duo has donated purifiers to 70 households in the Chakkarpur settlement.
And now, with the Rs 4 lakh funding available to them, they can distribute purifiers to over 250 families.
“There’s no time constraint for the fund raiser, so we are hoping to collect more donations in the time to come. We want to help as many people as we can. The 70 households that we have covered so far are just a tiny portion of the families who need the water purifiers,” says Manya.
The duo now plans to approach the corporate sector to raise funds as well. “We have been documenting our initiative since the very beginning and have a lot of footage. We are planning to make a short film that will help raise awareness about the problems the slum dwellers face,” adds Manya.