Reverse Osmosis System for the North Mamallapuram Dalit School ~ Mamallapuram, India
In December 2016 WaterBridge Outreach's Executive Director, Dr. Peter Coughlan, and Projects Manager, Corinne Robson, travelled to Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu, India. The intent of this brief trip was to visit the books and water projects that WaterBridge Outreach, in collaboration with Curt Degler of Save Int'l, has completed in the region as well as to identify the community needs for new projects.
On the last day of our trip Peter and Corinne, along with Curt Degler and Sonny Saravanan, Managing Trustee of TamilNadu Village Outreach visited the North Mamallapuram Dalit School which serves 75 primary students from poor Dalit families in the area. We were met at the school by one of the teachers and Patima (in green sari) who is employed as the school cook. The school has very limited infrastructure and the two classrooms are very basic with cement floors and battered old wooden desks, yet made bright and welcoming by displays of the students' work. There are functioning school washrooms and a water tank on the roof however the water is not potable.
The need for clean, purified water is two fold at the school: the children need access to clean, purified drinking water and Patima requires clean water to be able to prepare the students' daily free meal of rice and egg which is provided by the Indian government. Since the students come from Dalit families (Dalit, meaning "oppressed" in Sanskrit and "broken/scattered" in Hindi) , they are considered to be members of the lower castes of India and have been subjected to untouchability. While caste-based discrimination was prohibited and untouchability abolished by the Constitution of India, such practices still continue and it is a challenge for a school that serves Dalits to find local financial assistance necessary to make infrastructure improvements.
WaterBridge Outreach has stepped in along with Save Int'l to install a 50 litre/day reverse osmosis system at the North Mamallapuram School. In Sept. 2017 we received word from Curt that the system had been installed and is in operation providing clean, purified water for drinking and cooking. Cost for the school system was approx. $620 usd. Photos of the system are forthcoming.