Saturday, January 16, 2016


Nallamada, Andhra Pradesh Suguna was reading her book, when she heard someone at the door. 
She saw that there was a visitor from the city.Appa welcomed the guest.
He told Selva to bring a cold drink for him. The guest said, “I do not take cold drinks. I will just have a glass of water.”
Appa said, “ These days we are not getting water that is fit for drinking. It does not even look clean. It would be better if you do not drink this water. We do not have a choice, so we drink it.”
Water Games
Bazaar Gaon, Maharashtra There was a big water park near Bazaar Gaon. One day Rohan and Reena went with their parents to the water park. There were many water fountains.
Reena said, “Look Rohan, there are so many rides in the water.” “And look at all these big ponds,” Rohan said. Splash! Splash! Splash! Both turned around. They saw a long thick water hose going zoom, zoom, zoom.
Children were sliding down a big tall slide and landing in water with a loud splash. Rohan got into a swing high above – whoosh!, Within a second, he had landed in the water. Reena gave a shriek of surprise!
Just then they heard a lot of noise and loud voices from outside the park. Everyone ran towards the main gate. There was a crowd of people, carrying empty buckets and pots. A small child carrying an empty bottle was clinging to his mother. Rohan’s mother went to one of the women in the crowd.
“What is the matter?” She asked. The woman replied angrily, “You ask what is the matter? Our wells have no water. We get our water only when the tanker comes once a week. Today, even that has not come. And here, there is so much water everywhere – just for you all to play and enjoy. Tell me, what should we do?”

Can We Drink This?
Cuffe Parade, Mumbai The lift stopped at the 26th floor. Deepak loves going in the lift. Today was a holiday in school.
Deepak had gone with his mother to Raziya Madam’s house. His mother worked there. The house was quiet and cool, and shining clean.
Raziya was reading a newspaper. She smiled when she saw Deepak. “Is it a holiday today?” she asked. She switched on the TV and Deepak was soon lost in the world of cartoons.
Raziya called out, “Pushpa, it says in the newspaper that the gutter water has got mixed with the water in the drinking water pipes, in this area. It says that many people are sick with diarrhoea and vomiting because of this.
Why don’t you throw away the water that was filled yesterday? Put some fresh water to boil, for drinking. Also take home some boiled water for your family.”
Deepak was happy to hear this. He thought, “At least today I will not have to stand in a queue for hours to get water for our house. It is a real holiday for me!”

Children show the Way:
Too little water, or no water… this was nothing new for the people in the Holgundi area of Karnataka. The wells would have some water only in rainy days.
In the past three years, there was not even enough rain. Everything had dried up there. There was no water for drinking, for growing crops, or for animals. People had to leave their village and go to nearby towns for some work.
Children had to leave school to go with the elders. The village panchayat was worried. All the members discussed what could be done. This panchayat had some special members – children.
The children’s panchayat was called Bhima Sangh. “Has our village always had water shortage?” the children asked the elders. “No, it was not so before,” replied village people.
Some of the elders recalled that up on the hill, there used to be a water tank. The tank would fill with water when it rained. There used to be fish in the tank, and greenery around it.
Those days, even the village wells and the pond used to have enough water. On hearing this, the Bhima Sangh decided that they would first look for that tank. The tank was on the hill. They found that the tank was full of mud and stones now.
How could water fill? The tank had many cracks. How could the water remain in the tank? There were no trees and grass – how could there be greenery?
The children said, “We must clean the tank and make the area green again.” For this, it was important to first understand how things had been before and why they had changed now. This would help them to plan for solving the water problem. And, that too, not only for one year, but for the years ahead.
The panchayat took help from some experts. Together, they made a plan and together they worked for it. The tank was first properly cleaned. The cracks were repaired.
Grass and trees were planted all around the tank. As the tank was on a hill, a lot of rain water used to flow down the slopes. With this water, soil also would flow away. So the children made a small dam on the slope, to stop the water and soil.
Then everybody waited for the rains to come. When it rained, the tank filled up with the water. The children put some fish in the tank.
They kept guard to make sure that nobody stole the fish or harmed the plants. One monsoon went by, then another. Things got better every year. The tank filled a little more, the plants grew, the fish multiplied.
After two or three years, the tank remained full of water even after the rains had stopped. The wells and ponds in the village had water again. There was greenery once again. The people did not have to leave their village for work.
The hard work of Bhima Sangh had shown results. The children had shown the way! Those children are now grown upBut the Bhima Sangh continues, and every year more children are proud to become its members and work together; to always lead the way.

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