Stu­dents come to the aid of vil­lagers

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

A small vil­lage in In­dia is en­joy­ing easy ac­cess to clean water thanks to the help of a New Zealand youth del­e­ga­tion.

Thir­teen rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the P3 Foun­da­tion re­cently re­turned from Kalimpong in North East In­dia where they of­fi­cially marked the open­ing of a water tank in the vil­lage of Gairi Gaon.

The P3 Foun­da­tion, in con­junc­tion with the Glenn Fam­ily Foun­da­tion, has been work­ing to im­prove liv­ing con­di­tions of im­pov­er­ished res­i­dents for the last two years.

Del­e­ga­tion leader Bex Sil­ver, 22, says the water pump makes a huge dif­fer­ence to the daily lives of the vil­lagers.

‘‘Be­fore, peo­ple were hav- ing to walk up­hill to a stream to gather water, and to go to the toi­let, so that water was get­ting con­tam­i­nated and peo­ple were get­ting sick.’’

The new set-up also al­lows the vil­lagers to be less re­liant on weather pat­terns which vary be­tween hot, dry weather and mon­soon sea­son.

‘‘Now they can have clean water all year round,’’ she says.

Water re­lated prob­lems are com­mon through­out the wider re­gion and is one of the main ar­eas of fo­cus for the Glenn Fam­ily Foun­da­tion’s devel­op­men­tal work.

The P3 Foun­da­tion has do­nated more than $70,000 which has contributed to the devel­op­ment of health, san­i­ta­tion and ed­u­ca­tion ser­vices in Kalimpong.

Ms Sil­ver says the state of poverty in the small vil­lage is sad­den­ing.

Many chil­dren sur­vive on just one meal a day and in some cases chil­dren are sold to work for other fam­i­lies.

Ms Sil­ver read about the con­di­tions while study­ing for her masters in in­ter­na­tional devel­op­ment, but be­ing there was eye-open­ing.

‘‘The raw emo­tion of the peo­ple was over­whelm­ing. They were so grate­ful and hum­ble for what we did. In New Zealand we live in such abun­dance and th­ese peo­ple are so grate­ful for what lit­tle they have.’’

The two foun­da­tions also helped the es­tab­lish­ment of the lo­cal school – adding a toi­let and run­ning water.

Help­ing hands: Bex Sil­ver, left, and Shruthi Vi­jayaku­mar from P3 Foun­da­tion open a new water tank in Gairi Gaon, In­dia.

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