/Help A Village Effort nears fundraising goal for 2020
The aftermath of Cyclone Amphan seen in Khejuri II block district East Midnapur. SGUS has a proposed water supply project in this area. Photo submitted by Biswajit Ghoroi

Help A Village Effort nears fundraising goal for 2020

Minden-based charity Help A Village Effort has been working with rural villages in India for nearly four decades, turning donations from Canada into clean water and hygiene resources through partnerships with trusted non-governmental organizations.

Funding in recent years has gone to the states of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and West Bengal on the east coast of India.
In 2020, while much of the world has been grappling with the coronavirus, the region of West Bengal had yet another challenge as Cyclone Amphan ripped through the east coast of the country, downing trees and power lines, killing more than 70 people in the province and causing about $13 billion (USD) in damage.

“Amphan hit our area in the middle of May 2020,” said Biswajit Ghoroi, secretary of NGO Sarbik Gram Unnayan Sangha, or SGUS. “The eastern part of our district (Purba Medinipur) was affected badly. Out of a total 25 blocks of our area district, 10 blocks were affected badly. A huge number of houses of poor people, shops, trees, roads, electric posts etc. were damaged.”
Pond water used by area residents was polluted after trees fell into them and some drinking water sources were affected.
In the aftermath of the cyclone, SGUS conducted relief work and heard from villagers that drinking water had become an issue. Many were affected by water-borne diseases.

Help A Village Effort is now raising money to help the people of West Bengal access clean drinking water. Five community wells, one school water supply, and three water filtration systems for high schools are to be installed, costing about $24,000. To date, HAVE has raised $19,000 of this total. Each well benefits between 250 and 300 people and each high school filtration system means clean water for 1,200 to 1,500 students.

“We are so blessed to have an abundance of clean drinking water just by turning on the tap and we need to help those who are less fortunate,” said Ron Reid, chair of HAVE. “Imagine your children or grandchildren attending a school without having fresh drinking water. Please help HAVE by donating whatever you can, to assist communities in West Bengal, India who have been devastated by the cyclones. Being able to have fresh drinking water has an incredible impact on their daily lives.”

HAVE has almost reached its goal; only $5,000 more remains to be raised to move forward with this project.
Local members of the HAVE board including Reid, Paul Heffer, and Carolyn Langdon have made visits to India over the years to document HAVE-funded drinking water systems. HAVE was founded in 1982 in Minden and today has branches in Newfoundland and B.C.

Those interested in learning more can go to HelpAVillageEffort.org or email Ron Reid at re9id@interhop.net. A tax receipt will be issued for any donation of $20 or more; donors can also donate using Canada Helps – a link to which is on the website. Cheques can be made payable to Help A Village Effort and mailed to P.O. Box 553, Minden, ON, K0M 2K0. E-transfers are also accepted, see details under “How you can help” on their website.
Submitted by Help A Village Effort