Written By : Ms.Essar Batool, Capacity Development Executive, Kashmir
Bandipora,Kashmir: The crumbled one storied building in a quiet, faraway village in Mohalla Balla, Bandipora district,is standing sadly with an eerie silence.The dents of damage inflicted on it by the recent floods are prominent.
The local primary school also has its own tragic tale to share. Unable to bear the brunt of floods,one part of the school building has already collapsed and the remaining two rooms might crumble any moment. Under the circumstances, nearly 127 children enrolled in the school are left to study outside in the open.
Further, the floods have not only caused severe damage to the school space but have also damaged the only source of drinking water in the area.The community members and the school teachers shared that the children are now forced to drink water directly from the tap, which is unsafe for washing and cooking, let alone for the drinking of children.
In an effort to provide safe drinking water in the villages to safeguard the health of the flood affected community, IGSSS in partnership with Islamic Relief India, under its emergency humanitarian assistance, started installing water treatment plants in schools and community spaces. Uptill now, plants have been installed in four villages of Baramulla and Bandipora district, Mohalla Balla village is also one amongst them.
The water filter installed in Mohalla Balla now caters to both the school and the 40 odd households in the locality. Cooperation by the community members, school teachers and local community based organisations (CBOs) resulted in the quick installation of the water treatment plants and ensured provision for safe drinking water. It was hailed by the community as a constructive step towards fighting water borne diseases.
The positivity also reflected in the conversations with the community. Ali Mohamed Valoo, the owner of the school building shared,‘I am ready to give any support towards the installation of the plants as this will ensure pure,drinking water for all our villagers.’
Mr.Shabir Ahmad Malla, the head teacher of the school quoted,”The water filter plant is a really good initiative, both for the children and the community. I am really happy to see that the children have water to drink that will keep them protected against germs and diseases. It became possible because of the cooperation of the community that the school and people both will benefit from the plant.The women from community have also started to use the plant and it is a welcome step”.
IGSSS now aims to install 20 more water treatment plants with the objective of bringing safe, drinking water right to the doorsteps of the people.