May 13, 2014

A Mother's Sacrifice for her Child

For as long as people in the village of Ghaziabad in India can remember, they’ve suffered from water-related diseases due to contaminated water sources. Families have no choice but to use the unsafe water drawn from the town hand pump. Consequently, water-related sickness is a way of life here. But for the children and the elderly, the ones most at risk, drinking untreated water often leads to significant illness, and sometimes death.

Sadly, this is not unusual in areas without safe water access. In fact, globally, one in five children die of such diseases before they reach the age of five. But this is a story of perseverance and sacrifice, and of how one mother’s love and commitment helped her baby beat the inevitability of poverty.

Last year Petri Chaudhary gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Avna. Within two months, Baby Avna was suffering from severe diarrhea. Unfortunately there was little her mother could do except seek temporary relief from a local doctor that had no state-recognized qualifications to address the real issues facing Avna.

A month or so later, Petri visited her parents in Kureb, a village sixty miles away. Kureb’s water had been unsafe and dangerous, just like in Petri’s village, that is, until Safe Water Network arrived. We worked with Kureb’s village leaders in 2011 to design, install and operate an iJal Station.

The station had been in operation for about year when Petri made that visit to her parents with Baby Avna. During her stay, she noticed how much more active and healthy the children appeared in the neighborhood compared to the kids at home. After just a few weeks of drinking safe water, she and her baby noticeably felt better. It became apparent as she spoke to her parents' friends and neighbors, that those using safe water had also experienced such health improvement.

When Petri’s parents offered to raise Avna so that she could grow up drinking safe water, Petri and her husband didn’t hesitate to accept the offer, realizing that such a move would significantly improve their child’s chances of growing up healthy.

Safe Water Network and its partners intend to transform more villages with safe water by scaling our local success so that mothers won’t have to make the sacrifice that Petri made for the sake of her baby.

"We want our baby to grow up as happy and healthy as the children here in Kureb, where safe water is readily available."
Petri Chaudhary, Mother