Ruksana Begum in her kitchen. Each day, she gets clean drinking water from a water purification center near her home in Bengaluru. Photo credit: Neha Khator, USAID

Clean Water Means Life to These Indian Moms

For Ruksana Begum, the 1-kilometer-long walk to the nearby water purification center has now become worth her children’s lives.

Each morning as the clock strikes 10, Begum leaves her home carrying an empty 20-liter water can and a 5 rupee coin (8 cents) in her hand. As she arrives at the water center, she patiently waits in the queue to fill her can. Before leaving, Begum hands over the coin to Shiva, the revenue collector at the water center, and then walks back home with the filled water can, her eyes gleaming with a smile that’s hard to ignore.

“Each time I carry home a can of clean water with me, I know I’m taking back a safer and healthier life for my children,” says the proud mother of four.

It’s a complete turnaround for Begum’s neighborhood water supply, which two years ago was occasionally black and dotted with worms.

To help women like Begum get access to safe drinking water, USAID partnered with WaterHealth India, a social sector organization, to set up low-cost, community-based water purification centers in her Bengaluru neighborhood in 2015. USAID is also working with government leaders and key public and private stakeholders in India on this project to extend water and sanitation services to low-income urban populations.

Click here to read the full article in USAID's Frontlines magazine.


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Neha Khator
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