Bore Well and Hand Pump Project ~ Kazhanipakkam, India






The Irular people in Tamil Nadu, southern India, are known as “tribals”. This means they do not belong even to the “lower castes”. They are outside the caste system altogether. Many of them live a fragile existence on the edges of society. When Curt Degler of Save Int't and Peter Coughlan of WaterBridge Outreach visited their small village in 2012, they were impressed by the fact that these people and their children were cheerful, welcoming, and made no attempt to beg in spite of their evident needs. 


It was clear, however, that the village had no water. The women and girls had to walk considerable distances to get it, returning with heavy water containers on their heads or at their side. After talking with the villagers it was decided that Curt would investigate the possibilities of a bore well and hand pump and that WaterBridge Outreach would finance their installation. Curt, and his Tamil colleague Sonny Saravanan of Tamil Village Outreach, got to work. By the time Gail Tsukiyama and Mary Roach visited the village some eight months later, the well and the pump were installed and very much in use. The overall cost, if we also allow something for later maintenance, is around $2,000 in this particular case. It is amazing how many people’s lives can be impacted by relatively small sums. 


Katsura, the woman in the blue and yellow sari in the photographs at the well, showed them her delight by taking the initiative and giving an impromptu demonstration firstly, of how the well water was used for drinking and cooking, and secondly, how the slabs at the well were used for washing clothes! The photographs show her, her children, and many of the other villagers - although many of the men were away working as agricultural day laborers – and the photos also show the well and pump in the process of construction.