Rotary Club of Plympton
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Details of our Water Project in Nepal
Nepal Water Project - History & Background
In Spring 2009, our district sent a Group Study Exchange team to Nepal. The team visited a village at Shyampti, where women face a fifty minute round trip to carry their family's water on their backs or heads. Over time, this causes horrific injuries and so on their return to the UK, the team decided to do something about this.
In Nepal, women are discriminated in many aspects of life, from cultural traditions to laws and policies. Widows are amongst the most marginalized and discriminated of all women in Nepal. Since its foundation, Women for Human Rights (WHR) has been actively working to address the rights widows (referred to as 'Single Women because widows face even greater discrimination) in Nepal.
Dave Hocking and Jo Christensen of the GSE team visited the WHR HQ in Kathmandu during a 'vocation' visit as part of the GSE programme. They met many staff and volunteers (nearly all of whom were widows themselves and had been supported by WHR). Lily Thapa the founder of the scheme was truly inspirational. She set up WHR in 1994 after the death of her husband during the gulf war.
Dave works for a charity in the UK and part of his role is to support other charities and not-for-profit organisations with business planning support – that said Dave found WHR one of the most efficient and effectively operated organisations he had witnessed. Taking into account Nepal's developing status as a country this is truly impressive.
WHR help women at a 'grassroots' level (e.g. providing micro finance/small loans to enable widows to start a small business such as goat rearing), but also have a strategic influence at national and international level (e.g. WHR has been successful in having laws changed to the benefit of widows).
It was at this vocational visit that it was suggested that a trip the Shyampti Water Supply Scheme would be a good project to visit to see if Rotary Clubs in District 1290 could help financially.
WHR has been donated 72 acres of land, which local widows can use to learn crop development skills. Once these crops (coffee, vegetables fruits etc) are grown these can then be sold to generate an income and thus give the widows a living and help them to become self sufficient. However water supply to the 72 acres is at present very limited. As a result at present the 72 acres cannot be used to its full potential.
As well as supplying water to the 72 acres of crop land, the proposed water project would supply 71 local households (524 people), also a training centre operated by WHR (construction of which has already been funded) and a WHR womens refuse, which WHR is currently trying to also access funding for (separately to this project).
71 Local households, WHR widows training centre (in the picture) and the WHR women's refuge (to be built in front of the training centre) will all also be provided with running water.
Currently there is 50-minute round trip to collect water, which is down then up a very steep hill. Trips to collect water (mainly by women and girls) take place several times a day.
WHR is supporting the community in many ways already and will support the community to deliver the water project and ensure that all the benefits are utilised.
The 2009 GSE team want to raise £20,000 to bring running water to the village. Each household will provide some of the labour to install the water pipes and will also be able to repair them but the initial cost is well beyond their means.
Team member Jenny Walrond has since joined our club and we are proud to be the lead club in the district for this project working with several of the other clubs in District 1290 to help reach this goal.
As at mid-March (2010) in excess of £2,000 has been raised.
Meal at Bistro One in aid of Shyampti Water Project
The Nepalese supper held at Bistro One in Plymouth proved to be a great success and raised more funds for the Nepal Water Project. Restauranteur Stephen Barratt treated us to a tutored wine tasting, Momos, Kashmiri Chicken, Kullu Trout and a Ginger and Lemon Possett. The evening was a sellout and many of the people had never heard of the water project prior to Jenny's talk – so the night met another aim when Jenny organised the event in raising awareness of the project. One exciting thing was that a chap called Mark Bexter attended after reading about the event in the local newspaper. He has been working towards improving water in Nepal since 1983 and is in the process of developing a water sanitation technological innovation and is really keen to be involved and for us to be involved in any future projects he runs. Over £260 was raised for the Shyampti Water Project on the night and many donations received beforehand from people unable to make the evening.
Following the meal at Bistro One, Jenny continued her fund raising - collecting £230 from some drunk Exeter Chiefs supporters. This brought the weekend total to £492.63. Following a plea on Facebook, this was increased to £500 meaning over £3,000 has now been raised.
Donation from "The Beer Engine""
Plymouth Accountants Group Quiz
Following on from the successful launch of the Plymouth Accountants Group in November last year, it had been suggested from the members that a little light relief from the daily grind of debits and credits would not go amiss for the next meeting of the group.
This was achieved recently through a charity quiz held at Bar Ha Ha. The Plymouth Accountants Group approached members of the Plympton Rotary Club to assist with this event which raised funds towards the Shyampti Water Project (in Nepal) which we are working towards.
Plympton Rotary Club member Darren Hands set the questions which stretched the old grey cells in directions other than income tax, annual budgets and final accounts, instead testing the participants in a range of subjects which as well as the old favourites of sport, entertainment and general knowledge also included local history.
Fellow Plympton Rotarian, Jenny Walrond was the Quizmaster and also gave a short talk on the Nepal Water Project explaining that "In Spring 2009, I and a team of 4 others visited Nepal on a Rotary Group Study Exchange. We visited a village at Shyampti, where the women face a fifty minute round trip to carry their family's water on their heads. Over time, this causes horrific injuries. We want to raise £20,000 to bring running water to the village. Each household will provide some of the labour to install the water pipes and will also be able to repair them but the initial cost is well beyond their means."
The winning team was a composite team from Plymouth Hospital NHS Trust and Neville and Co Accountants who are pictured with Jenny receiving their prizes.
Over £300 was raised on the night.
More funds raised
Not missing a chance to help raise funds for the project, Jenny has been plugging the project whenever she can. This includes receiving funds from the directors at Exeter Chiefs and Rotherham Titans rugby clubs as well as WBW solicitors - seen here presenting a cheque to Jenny following a sweepstake held at Chiefs games.
At the end of January Jenny cooked a Nepali lunch for almost seventy people - with more than a little help from other team members and members of our club.
She is also selling copies of a recipe booklet of Nepali food to raise money towards the project.