The more we traveled the more we became aware that certain things we took for granted while living in New York were considered absolute luxuries in many parts of the world - access to safe water was one of them. It was on a trip to India (Tarun's birth country) and Nadine’s NID trip (National Polio Immunization Day in India) that our "Gift of Water" dream was born. Our dream was to create a safe and sustainable source of water in a village in Eastern India. Water was a scarce commodity in that village and villagers spent nearly half their day in fetching water for themselves and their families.
In 2010 we got married in Germany and resolved to use our wedding as a platform to achieve our "Gift of Water" dream. Instead of a gift registry we asked our friends and families to participate with us in the "Gift of Water". All contributions we received at our wedding were put into a "Gift of Water" account and we then embarked on our “research journey”. After 16 months of researching we inaugurated our first tube-well on January 2, 2012. We consider ourselves fortunate to be working with a volunteer team consisting of our friends and families and local NGOs and fellow Rotarians in India who help us plan, search for good sites, coordinate governmental and regulatory approvals and provide installation supervision and post- installation management...and all this with zero overhead costs.
To date we have installed 18 tube wells in different villages situated in West Bengal, India. Each well is being used regularly by 200 as well as 1500 villagers. We believe that the health dividend of clean, fresh water, the hours saved and the kilometers not trudged each day by women and children in getting water for their homes will help them create a better life for their families and communities. We feel blessed that with the help of our friends and families we could make a permanent difference - it truly is a gift which keeps on giving.
We believe that all "Gift of Water" projects are high ROI projects irrespective of whether you think of it as "Return on Investment" or "Return on Improvement". Depending on the depth of the tube well each "Gift of Water" project has required an investment of $1,000 to $3,000 and on an average has improved the lives of 400 people. We can't think of anything else with a higher Return on Improvement/Investment.
We are currently in collaboration with 6 international Rotary Clubs on a $215,000 global grant to supply tube wells, sanitation facilities as well as educational hygiene training in villages in the Sundarban area.
If you would like to get involved or know more about our projects please feel free to contact us at anytime. We also welcome you to join us and visit our ongoing "Gift of Water" projects on your next trip to India.
- Nadine & Tarun