So I've been back from India for nearly three weeks now, but the memories have stayed with me as has the experience. It's difficult to explain what we saw whilst we were in India - some things have to be witnessed to be believed....but I just wanted to share some of my reflections with you on here...
It is a country of stark contrasts - poverty vs riches, colour vs dark places and opportunity vs despair...and these things were abundantly apparent in a lot of the places that we visited. It strikes me as so unfair that these disparities still exist within countries in 2013. A number of people have questioned the need for WaterAid to work in India as the country has the means within its own government to help their own people - I completely understand this point of view but equally I have seen the faces of the people that this would disadvantage. These people are not statistics they are faces in my mind and ones that deserve the basic human right of access to clean water and sanitation. And WaterAid are working at this problem from both sides - they are supporting these vulnerable communities at the same time as lobbying government and leveraging funds from them to support their work.
The work of WaterAid is nothing short of amazing - it isn't about the taps and the toilets (although obviously these are great!) it is about the opportunity and freedoms that access to clean water provides. It is about the freedom from illness, the reinstatement of dignity, the time that the communities can invest differently, the education that this brings and the empowerment of the communities to build their futures together.
India took me through a massive range of emotions, some of which I am still working through but I came home with an overwhelming sense of pride - pride that I was lucky enough to experience the work of WaterAid first hand, pride that this fantastic charity was borne out of the industry in which I work and enormous pride in all those people out there that support WaterAid.
The thing I will take forward from this experience is the families we met and their stories - their dignity in their day to day struggle for survival, and the overwhelming drive of particularly the women to change their children's lives. Water is the turnkey to that - it really is as simple as that.
WaterAid changes lives, and that cannot be underestimated.
I hope you've enjoyed reading about my experiences, and as I have done learned a lot about the work of WaterAid....thank you for reading, and I hope that our journey has been as informative and inspiring for you as it has been for us.....