Meet Samala. Samala lives with her parents and siblings on the outskirts of Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. They can’t afford an apartment in town, so they live in an informal settlement in an area called Kaundia. Kaundia is located across a branch of the Buriganga River from the city. Their home is a small room made of corrugated iron sheets. Samala is 18 years old.
In 2009, there was no water supply in Kaundia. Residents were forced to collect water from the river, which is one of the most polluted bodies of water in the world. For drinking water they purchased bottled water, spending about $2/month. At that time, Water1st began funding water and toilet projects in her area. The community was eager to participate, largely due to the health conditions they faced as a result of lack of clean water. Households in the area spent $44/month on medicines to treat water related illnesses, a huge economic burden. Most families earned between $80 and $200/month.
Kaundia began installing new wells and toilets in the community and conditions improved rapidly. Samala reported that her family now spends about 10 minutes a day collecting water. Their water bill is $5/month and in return, they have much more water to use for all household purposes, all of it clean enough to drink. The health impact is tremendous. They rarely get sick and estimate spending about $2/month on medicine, a savings of over $500 per year!
Samala is able to attend school and is doing very well. She hopes to become a doctor. She’s a great natural leader. She currently serves as the president of the local community group that is facilitating all the water and toilet work. She presented to Water1st's visiting group in December 2016 and was a fantastic public speaker, especially for being just 18 years old. We think she will go far. Thank you for making it possible for people like Samala to reach their potential!