India - Part 2
I really hope some of you read my earlier blog India Part 1 & gained some insight into the dire need for access to clean water in remote & poverty stricken communities around the world, such as some of the slums throughout India. This blog & Part 1 cover my recent trip to India with WaterAid India & WaterAid Australia. Two of the best charitable organisations around the world! You can check it out here if you missed it.
Travelling to places such as the Indian slums & visiting communities full of beautiful people who are sadly struggling every single day to survive & keep their loved ones healthy, is something I am incredibly fortunate to be able to do. Opening your eyes to a world beyond your own is something I want to do more & more of, with the goal of enhancing perspective. I've followed many people over the years & I've watched in awe as they try and do whatever they can to raise awareness for matters than need attention (global attention). WaterAid have continued to welcome me into their family over the years and I feel lucky to learn by such strong, giving leaders.
The second part of my travels with WaterAid last month was focused around visiting a second slum. This slum was called Kirti Nagar, in Delhi & is referred to what they call a recognised slum, meaning they get more help from their government.
This particular slum is positioned right on the railway (see pics below). It makes for a very loud & quite a scary place to call home - but for the families within this slum, it's very normal. Normal to the point that the kids use the railway as entertainment! They play on the tracks & race off when they hear a train tearing towards them - it's frightening!! This same railway used to also be used as the community toilets. People would squat to do their business in front of hundreds of people watching as they crossed the bridge. Not a very nice situation for anybody.
Thank god since then, with the assistance of WaterAid, this slum now has access to a more privatised designated bathroom area. It's far more hygienic & it allows people to not feel as though they have to loose their dignity while doing something as simple as going to the loo. In terms of the women, a designated toilet area means they are kept safe. They don't have to wander into dark areas during the night & it's a much cleaner environment during that time of the month.
This slum was slightly different from the 1st slum I told you about (the unrecognised slum) as this 2nd slum had regular access to clean running water. The word "running" is something we all just skim over. Wouldn't you agree? When we turn on our kitchen taps, fill up our water bottles, drink from a fountain when we're out jogging, shower after work & wash the sand from our feet after the beach with the outdoor hose, this "running" water we use gives us the gift of clean, fresh water. This keeps us, our families and our pets away from sickness & harm. The word "running" to me now also means "luxury" !!
It was amazing to see how something as simple as turning the tap on, made the world of difference to the personalities of the residents within this slum. It make them shine with thrill. At the same time it felt almost devastating, knowing that without this - people were living such a poor quality of life. It really is not fair.
As I just mentioned, there was a clear difference in this slum. The mood felt more positive & cheery. It looked more colourful & appeared to be more active as people were moving around & going about their days. For some reason, the smiles from people within these Indian communities is so, so so infectious! When you catch a smiling face looking back at you, it honestly makes your whole face light up & your heart feel warm. It's magical! Given they live in such remote & unclean places, yet they're still able to brighten the days of the strangers they meet in passing - is inspirational.
Visiting this second slum really pushed home the fact that fresh water not only changes lives, it improves lives and it save lives. I wrote this fact in my first blog, but I'll write it again ... 47% of deaths could be saved if they had access to clean water.
Water is one of natures medicines & something we should all have access to whenever we want it. If you want to help creative positive change, please jump on the WaterAid Australia website & learn about how to get involved.
Follow their footsteps all around the globe on Instagram (@wateraidaustralia) & make a promise to yourself to try & be more aware the next time you take a sip from your drink bottle or take a warm shower. I don't want anyone to feel guilty for what they have, absolutely not! Just thankful & full of gratitude.
Thank you again for the amazing photos @prashanthvishwanathan