As SISP works with and for the poorest people from Vizhinjam, Kovalam, we are directly facing their problems, suffering and misery. Many families have a daily struggle with things that foreigners take for granted. Clean water floating in our kitchens and bathrooms; where ever we go, we don’t have to worry about clean drinking water for our children, for today, for tomorrow... In the coastal area of Trivandrum district still many families don’t have access to (drinking) water. As these people don’t have enough financial resources, they cannot afford to buy drinking water from the shops. Instead they drink the water that the government provides them, from a nearby well or public tab. Unfortunately these resources don’t always supply clean water; animals and people are bathing in the same ponds and rivers and the water is used to wash the vessels and clothes as well... This causes a lot of diseases among the already vulnerable people living in this area.
As we know how important clean drinking water is, we started in 2016 a small pilot-project in cooperation with KA-Brugge, a Belgian school and co-sponsored by Lelia (Italy) and SISP Belgium. We were able to provide 30 families of a water filter, which will give them lifelong access to clean drinking water. This filter can clean all kind of dirty water, as long as it is no salty water.
We could see how a simple filter can take away so many problems and misery and decided to continue the project. This year, again with the support of SISP Belgium and Lelia who raised funds in schools, water companies, and others, we provided 100 families of a water filter and hereby access to clean drinking water! We gave priority to our SISP students and then to the beneficiaries from who we thought they needed it the most. We had a very nice team of volunteers with people from Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands and England who came to help us with the installation of the filters and to give awareness class about the importance of clean drinking water to the families. Our ‘old-interns’ Celeste and Jelle (Kovalam Surf Club founder) were a great help in the organisation of the execution of this project.
The company who provides this type of water filters, came to our Centre to explain our staff and children how the filter works and how to maintain it. As they were used to drink the dirty water, we had to change their mind-set by explaining the benefits of the filter and the necessity of only drinking clean water. The social workers, teachers and Kovalam Surf Club follow up the project by supervising and training the students and beneficiaries in maintenance of the filters. The project is a big success and all these families are very happy.
Water in general is a big problem all over the world. We make our students and staff aware not to spill any water both in our SISP Centre as at their homes. We tell them to close the taps and not to waste unnecessary water. Clean drinking water is not a luxury; it’s a basic need which every person has the right to, no matter where they live! We are planning to get more water filters sponsored next year, so we can supply them along our staff and the rest of our beneficiaries.