In Search of Water and Dignity

Can you imagine living in a situation where trying to get access to water for your daily chores translates into a lack of dignity? Where every single day someone humiliates you when you try to fill a bucket of water? For 150 people of the Musahar community this is a reality, but today you can do something to change this. VV-PACS Correspondent Kesha Devi reports from the community. The Musahar community, the ‘lowest’ even among the Dalits of India, continue to be one of the most marginalised and stigmatised communities of the country. Their children do not get an education on an equal footing with others’ in the village; their settlements are pushed away to far corners of hamlets; schemes meant to provide them with housing, water and sanitation do not reach them. As India gets caught up in the politics of who should govern this country for what reasons, the needs communities like this one are what ought to be taken into account. For the 150 Musahars living in Bhikari Rampur village, access to water is not only difficult it has also become a new reason for people of ‘upper castes’ to chide them of their ‘low’ social standing. After the only hand pump in their village went bust eight months ago, people had to walk half a kilometre away to get water. “When we go to get water, people from that area fight with us and throw away our buckets. So sometimes we don’t go there but go to a village far away” explains Gunjan a resident of the community. On most days the women return empty handed from the neighbouring village’s hand pump. If they don’t pay money to get their buckets filled, the buckets will be kicked away. For the few who can afford it, they shell out INR 20 for others, for a majority though the search for water becomes more difficult. On asking the Village head to take action, the community was told that nothing could be done, that it was out of their hands. But here is the thing, something can be done. You can make sure that this community has access to water and is able to live a dignified life. It is as simple as making a phone call. Call to Action: Please call Mrs Uma Gupta, the Block Development Officer on 09450186820 and ask her to make sure that this community gets water. About the Partnership: The Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) Programme and Video Volunteers have come together to create the Community Correspondents Network. The videos generated by the network will be able to highlight voices from the margins, providing skills to social communicators to provide advocacy tools to community based organisations.

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