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What does it take to transform a community in need?

CCFC joins with a local partner to provide clean water and sanitation to thousands in Surangudi, India

By Lipi Jobson, CCFC communications manager, India

The serene village of Surangudi in the Tamil Nadu region of southern India is earning a good reputation among neighbouring communities. Locals are talking about how the rural hamlet has been transformed. Thanks to Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) donors, and local partner People’s Action for Development (PAD), 4,000 lives have been impacted.

Earlier this year, the outlook was grim. More than 25 percent of villagers walked a kilometre for clean water; many were suffering from disease due to waterborne illnesses and a poor diet. This was having a long-term negative impact on children’s growth, their education and their psychological well-being, so CCFC/PAD stepped in to help.

Water tanks, which each hold 3,000 litres, were installed in five areas — three by CCFC and two by the town council (or panchayat); more than 200 households are already benefiting. And an old water-harvesting tank, which collects rain, has been repaired. “Now we have safe drinking water,” affirms Paanchaali Muniasamy, a resident.

Meanwhile, vitamin deficiency was another problem in town. The answer? Bio-intensive kitchen gardening. Tomato, pumpkin and other vegetable seeds were provided to 100 households, and villagers were taught how to prepare seed beds and keep soil nourished with natural fertilizer. “The kitchen garden gave us access to vitamin-rich vegetables and saved us money,” explains Maariah Thiruvetri who sowed seeds provided by CCFC/PAD.

 

Nutritious food was in place, but improper sanitation was an issue, too. Open-air makeshift toilets left females vulnerable to attack and created a breeding ground for infection. CCFC lobbied the Panchayat to make use of government subsidies to install 100 (so far) individual toilets in the village.

“Thanks to CCFC/PAD for making us aware of the issue and motivating us to build our own individual toilets,” says Muthumari Lingasamy, a Surangudi resident and local government field coordinator. “Open defecation has been drastically reduced in our village.”

Garbage was also a problem, as it blocked drains, which caused flooding and disease during rainy season. So, 680 households were each given bins for non-degradable and degradable waste, the latter of which is converted into compost for gardening.

“Now our village is litter-free and hygienic,” sums up Selvaraj Sarkarai, president of the Surangudi Panchayat.

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About Christian Children's Fund of Canada:

Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) is a child-focused international development organization and a member of ChildFund Alliance. For more than 50 years, CCFC has been helping children and families of all faiths move from poverty to self-reliance. CCFC supports children and communities in 12 countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas. Currently, CCFC works to improve the lives of more than 700,000 people around the world.