Ramesh’s house is a lot quieter than it was two days ago. Two days ago, there were five hundred chickens living in the pen at the bottom of the garden. But they have now been sold at the local market; bringing some extra income to Ramesh Aryal and his family. “We use the money to send our children to school,” he shared.
When Ramesh’s chickens were still residents of Bhadaure, a village in central Nepal’s Ghorka region, they often enjoyed a wash under the chicken-cleaning tap next to their pen. Ramesh installed this tap himself after learning how to from the Raleigh volunteers, who installed a tap stand a year ago for the family’s washing and cooking. After the volunteers left, he copied the design of the first tap stand to build another one, which feeds off the same reserve tank – a true example of sustainability in action.
Although the Raleigh volunteers left Bhadaure 12 months earlier, the impact of their three months in the community is still being felt across the village. Before the WASH project there were just two taps for the whole village, which for Ramesh’s wife Beli meant a 500 meter walk every time she needed water. By working together, community members, local project partner Goreto Ghorka and Raleigh volunteers installed a tap stand in every home, as well as three toilets for houses that didn’t have them. “My wife has much more time now!” Ramesh laughs.
In addition, villagers, particularly children, are now hardly ever sick from waterborne diseases like diarrhea and fever, which was a common occurrence before. “They taught us how to not have stagnant water near the house, how to wash our hands before and after going to the toilet and how to have cleanliness in the house. People don’t get sick as often now,” Ramesh says.
The children’s club still runs handwashing sessions every fortnight and each month collects 10-15 rupees from every household, which is used to keep the village clean – by buying things like bin bags.
Raleigh volunteers along with the community members also built a dumping site for the village rubbish. “This has really made an impact within the community,” says Ramesh. “Before there were plastic and other items lying around, but now we collect it and put it in the proper dumping site. We have a community meeting every month to discuss what needs to be done to keep the village clean.”
The volunteers also left a personal impact. Sita Shrestha a community member hosted two volunteers in her home. “Having the volunteers living here made me happy. They were like my own sisters,” she says.
Sita uses her tap stand for washing and cooking. “I’m really happy to have a tap in my own home,” she says.
Back in the house below, Ramesh’s entrepreneurial spirit isn’t restricted to chickens. He loves growing different types of vegetables, helped by the run-off water from the tap stand which is piped to the crop fields. “Before the WASH programme we had to be careful about how much water we used. But now we have our own tap the crops can get enough water and the production has increased.”
Which, in turn, means more income for the family. This impact has been felt by most families in the village, most of whom also get their money from agriculture.
Ramesh is also now self-sufficient in food: “I prefer having all the production in my own house, so I don’t have to go to the market to buy anything,” he says.
Now his chickens are gone, Ramesh is thinking about bananas. The 500 poultry have been replaced by 500 banana trees. They’re still growing but he’s thinking of selling the fruit, helped by the water from Ramesh’s tap stand, they’re bound to thrive.
Text and Pictures by Ursula Turner