Alongside the large-scale development projects such as the Mattala airport, the harbour, golf resorts and the highways of Hambantota, rural communities live a hand-to-mouth existence and battle with various socio-economic difficulties to eke out a living. The community of Mausirigama had an additional problem. The water in their wells and waterways was unfit for consumption. In an attempt to filter the impurities from this life source, mothers would daily strain pots of water and boil it so as to make it safe for their children. However, this gruelling process was insufficient and those who consumed the water would fall ill. The plight of the village heightened when a child from the community was diagnosed with a kidney-related illness.
Since 2012, LEADS has been working closely with the community of Mausirigama, with the aim of elevating the living standards of the villagers. The specially designed Child-Centred Community Development programme implemented in Mausirigama by LEADS, empowers impoverished families and the community as a whole to create a conducive environment and better opportunities for the children. Through this programme, the villagers receive training and guidance to identify the pressing needs in their community which impede their development. The intensifying issue with regard to access to potable water was one of the greatest issues affecting the community of Mausirigama and the villagers brought this issue to the notice of LEADS through its regional coordinators.
In partnership with JLUN Trading Services, LEADS was able to gift a reverse osmosis water purification unit to the community of Mausirigama. Towards this water purification unit, a well and a housing unit for the water plant were also constructed for the community. This system purifies around 160 litres of water per day, filtering all harmful substances such as mud, chlorine, high levels of iron and other impurities that can make the water unsuitable for consumption. The 40 families benefiting through this unit are now able to purchase potable water for a cost as low as LKR 2 (USD 0.011) per litre. The monies earned from the purchase of purified water are collected by a village committee who will oversee the maintenance and administration of the unit.
Nimal proudly looked on as his son, clad in a white national suit, welcomed the chief guests at the opening ceremony of the water purification unit on Saturday, 6 July 2019. He was among those who clapped the loudest when his son assisted the invitees to open the faucet and watched happily as pure water gushed out into the container beneath it. Nimal, his wife and his two sons live nearly half a kilometre away from the water purification unit. Before the installation of this unit, Nimal would walk for nearly 4 kilometres to the Andarawewa area to collect water which was safe for his family’s consumption. “This unit is very valuable to us as I had to walk 4 kilometres to the nearest tap line in Andarawewa where I would have to pay 20 rupees for a can of water” said Nimal. Time and money are very valuable assets for Nimal who is a farmer like most other villagers. This unit not only helps him access safe water for his family but also saves his time and money. “I am very happy that our village received this water purification system. LEADS has also helped my children and supported me in my farming by helping me purchase a watering system.”
In response to this situation, we are collaborating to provide immediate support to these communities. We are working to uphold their basic rights by providing care packs for families and activity packs for children, with psycho social support to the survivors and community to follow.
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