asia, water projects

Student NGO Builds Wells in India

5 Comments 07 December 2010

Student NGO Builds Wells in India

In 2007, an eighth grade student traveled to the rural village of Paras, India. Rujul Zaparde witnessed villagers walking over one mile a day to find clean water. The sight moved the young Zaparde. When he returned to the United States, he partnered with a peer, Kevin Petrovic, and the two founded Drinking Water for India (DWI), a grassroots student-run campaign to bring clean water to rural Indian villages.

By the end of 2007, Zaparde and Petrovic raised $1,000 to dig a well in Paras, India. The two raised money by hosting bake sales and car washes. After the first well was built in Paras, Zaparde and Petrovic continued their water work in other rural villages. In a telephone interview Zaparde told WaterWideWeb, “On the drive to Paras in 2007, I saw at least 25 other villages with the same problem. I figured, if we can help one village, we can help more”.

Currently, DWI partners with schools in New Jersey and other states to raise awareness and funding for well projects in India. “We just want to show other students that young people their age are struggling just to find clean drinking water”, said Zaparde.

DWI builds wells close to schools to maximize the number of people who can access clean water from the well. Residents in neighboring villages can find water at the well without traveling extensive distances in search for clean water.

“Digging wells near schools makes the most sense. Students in schools without clean water access have to sit through an entire day without water. Now, students can bring water home to their families at the end of the day”, continued Zaparde.

Maintenance of water wells is an important facet of the work of DWI. Water wells are used constantly. Villagers sometimes use the well from early as 3 a.m. until midnight. DWI works with village leaders, appointed by local community members, to ensure that the well is functional at all times. Village leaders have the contact number for DWI personnel who can respond as swiftly as possible to a broken well.

Fundraising campaigns of DWI allocate money specifically for repairs if the well should break. “We set aside a certain amount of money so that we are there and ready to respond if a well breaks”, assured Zaparde.

The DWI project is an exceptional example of the social change mobilized by grassroots student-led movements. When it comes to clean water, anyone can make a difference in the life of rural villagers and school children.

Photo Credit: All photos in this article belong to

The work of DWI impacts local communities in several capacity. DWI provides a water resource, which in turn, alleviates the strain of finding water. Women, who typically are responsible for finding clean water, can dedicate the precious resource of time, to duties other than water gathering.

Mortality from water-borne diseases such as typhoid fever and bacterial diarrhea will decrease when projects such as DWI expand their work in developing countries. Children can attend school on a regular basis, without worrying if there will be enough water to be comfortable throughout the school day.

Water impacts a community from the ground up—literally. Simply providing clean water has implications for community members at all levels. The structure of these remote villages will develop over time. As water-borne diseases decrease, education and life expectancy will increase.

Questions arise about the work of governmental municipalities responsible for remote village’s water supply when reviewing the work of DWI. Are governmental programs monitoring the complex issues that undermine social and economic development in the rural communities of India?

NGOs and other non-profit organizations can certainly make a difference by supplying the immediate water need of villages. But, legislation and federal regulation of water policy must be implemented and enforced if a sustainable solution to India’s water shortage problems is to be reached.

The short-term effects of water projects in India’s remote villages will relieve the daily task of walking two miles or more to find water, water which may not even be safe for consumption. Over time, the literacy rates in these rural communities will increase. Two symptoms of poverty, illiteracy and unsafe water, will be assuaged.

Efforts to provide clean drinking water to communities that aren’t read about in major newspapers or featured on news specials can be undertaken by any individual. However, a balanced response to water issues must enlist the support of local governments, community members, and aid agencies if a sustainable future for these communities is sought.

Communities can change from within but there must be a solid infrastructure to fit that change from the outside. How can governmental programs reach even the remotest villages in their country? Will that be left up to projects like DWI? Or, will the work of DWI inspire a renewed sense of responsibility for a nation’s people across the socio-economic strata? Unfortunately, only time will tell.

If you enjoyed this article, you should also read:

Bridging Water and Education in Kenya

UNICEF Targets Latino Community in Awareness Campaign

Repairing Water Wells in Africa

Save a Water Well Save Lives

Cholera in Haiti: Direct Aid Workers Speak

Your Comments

5 Comments so far


    You are doing a nice job,congratulations.I want to be part of you,how do i go about it(am a student at Jommo Kenyatta University,Kenya Africa).Ilook forward to be part of you.

Share your view

Post a comment



© 2011 Powered by WaterWideWeb.