Let's Build a Well

For: Gypsy Community
Tiruvannamalai, TN, India
Organizer: Yamuna Flaherty
Let's Build a Well (Gypsy Community)
$4,603
of $6,000 goal.
Raised by 54 donors
76% Complete

The Story

My name is Yamuna Flaherty, and I am from Calgary, Canada. I have been traveling to India since I was a child as my mother is from Chennai, Tamil Nadu. A couple of years ago I came to the humble, holy, town of Tiruvanamalai and fell in love with its charming rural roads, devotional ambience, and of course, the holy Mount Arunachala at its centre.
It was not until the spring of 2017 that I met Ragul Benjamin, a local social worker. He spoke to me of a gypsy community that lived in deplorable conditions on the outskirts of town and asked if I would like to join him to visit. At the time, I wasn't sure that there was anything that I could do. But once I met the community and saw their settlement, I realized that as a photographer and a writer I had the tools needed to bring their story to the world. The community themselves asked us for our help and we have ensured from the start that their voices are heard. We held a council for members of the community to express their concerns, needs, and desires, and together came to the conclusion that their most urgent need is clean water.
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:: Our Mission ::
The Narikuravar are an indigenous community from Tamil Nadu, India. They are often referred to as gypsies, due to their historically nomadic lifestyle as hunters and gatherers. In recent years they have been prohibited to pursue their traditional lifestyle and have begun selling beaded ornaments and other trinkets in the local markets. 
The Narikuravar have faced discrimination since ancient times, and are considered as 'Dalits', a low-caste community. This has led to poverty, illiteracy, illness, and limited access to social welfare. They live on the fringes of society, children often do not go to school, and they lack even the most basic of human necessities.
This is a community of around 65 families (227 people) who live in thatched huts, and share one water pump amongst them. The dribble from this one water source is inadequate to meet the cooking and bathing needs of all the people in this community and as such the Narikuravar are forced to pay money to use neighbouring wells or send a man by motorcycle to fill two jugs of water at a time for his family. The inability to bathe has resulted in children being teased at school and many of them prefer to stay at home. There are very rarely high school graduates in this community, and girls tend to stay at home or leave schooling at a young age.
Although this community face many adversities that we would like to address over time, the most pressing one is their ability to access clean drinking water. With temperatures soaring to 45 degrees and above in the summer months, it is inconceivable to imagine living without an ample resource of water. 
This project seeks to drill a brand new borewell on their settlement which will provide fresh water to a community who deserve this basic human right! 
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:: Cost Breakdown ::
An optimal location for drilling has already been identified and after inspection we believe there to be sufficient ground water for the future well. We intend to dig up to 1000 ft, which will cost roughtly $2180.00 CAD at today's current exchange rate.
In the event we do not reach our target, we are able to dig to lesser depths, though the longevity of the well would be less.

Next are electrical items and other things such as: PVC pipes, motor, rope, starter, etc.
We estimate the cost of this to be $2215.00 CAD at today's current exchange rate.

Finally we will need a concrete water tank, which will cost $1170.00 CAD at today's current exchange rate.

Digging the borewell, electrical items, water tank, and labour will cost an estimated - $5565.00 CAD

Every cent of your contribution will go towards the expenses outlined above.

With your generous and heartfelt contribution we are hopeful that we will be able to realize this project by the end of the summer season. Tamil Nadu has experienced the worst rain fall in 140 years and many areas are suffering from drought. Drinking water has become a challenge for urban dwellers and rural ones alike, though none face as many obstacles to access such basic necessities as low-caste communities. 

Help us take one step towards assuring the human right to water is a reality for this Narikuravar community.
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:: How you can help ::
In order for us to realize this project we need donations. While I am exploring options on how to secure funding from larger organizations, the truth is, we can actually do this together! Even a $10 dollar donation will help and there is no amount too small. We understand that every person's financial capability is different and we truly appreciate every donation big or small.

Another great way to help is by sharing our campaign on your social media networks. Our Instagram hashtag is #letsbuildawell and sharing our fundraiser on Facebook with a personalized blurb is also very effective.

If you'd like to see daily updates about this project's progress please follow me on Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/yamunaflaherty/

To see photos of this project and more check out my website
http://www.yamunaflaherty.com/



Fundraiser Updates

Posted on December 13, 2017

UpdateImage

Posted on December 13, 2017

Friends,

Our water tank is totally complete! So far we have drilled the well, built the tank entirely from scratch, and we have received all permissions from the relevant authorities to hook up electricity so that we can power the motor!

We are almost there. 

Thank you once again for all of your support!


Posted on October 31, 2017

UpdateImage

Posted on October 31, 2017

Friends and family,

We have some amazing updates on our well project!

First of all, drilling of the well is totally complete. We went to a depth of about 600 meters and found sufficient water for our project. There was a delay in setting up the tank where the water will be collected, due to Diwali festivities and some rain, but we are happy to announce that operations have begun again.
Ragul identified a spot to put the tank where there is collective ownership amongst everyone in the community, paperwork is complete, and we are nearing completion of the tank installation.

Some wonderful news is that Helena Maria, a longtime friend of mine who is also a donor to this project, is visiting the community right now!! She has had a chance to meet Ragul and be guided around the Narikuravar settlement, meet the elders and children, and see how far our project has come.
It's wonderful to know that this mission to bring clean water to these Gypsies has touched her heart so much that she went to visit. We are so blessed for her presence at such a critical time.

I believe the next update will be with the great news that we are totally complete! 

Stay tuned and as always, infinite gratitude for your support, prayers, and blessings.

Ragul and Yamuna


Posted on September 30, 2017

UpdateImage

Posted on September 30, 2017

Friends and family!

We are so humbled and grateful to announce that drilling operations have begun this morning with a prayer and we are already at 300 ft. The villagers are very excited that this dream is becoming a reality.

We appreciate your continued prayers and thoughts towards the success of this project. And as always, thank you so much for your heartfelt contributions.

In gratitude,

Yamuna and Ragul

About the Organizer

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