Students at David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) are making a worldwide impact, along with the help of the Rotary Club of Invermere.
Since early April, members of the DTSS Interact Club have been fundraising to build a brand new bore well in the Indian village of Thimmampet, which has a population of about 5,000. Working in concert with the non-profit SOPAR (SOciety for PARtnership), club members needed to raise a total of $850 to help fund the well. The Rotary Club of Invermere pledged to match any money raised, and so with the DTSS students raising $460, Rotary will be covering the remainder.
“We were surprised by how much money we made,” said Interact chairwoman Holly Glassford.
The DTSS Interact Club was formed earlier this year as Rotary International’s service club for young people ages 12 to 18 in Invermere. Glassford said she got involved because she loves to help people and projects like these are the ones that really make her feel like it was time well spent.
“I guess I just really like helping people,” Glassford said. “I’ve always been the kind of person who likes to help locally and globally.”
Glassford had first heard of the potential project in her leadership class. As the class had worked with SOPAR in the past, SOPAR would keep in touch about any new projects on the horizon. Glassford originally wanted to do the well project as part of that class, however, as they ran out of time she decided it might be something Interact could take over instead.
“I personally picked the water [project] because I thought that everybody in the village could use it,” Glassford said. “I just thought it would be a well-rounded project to do.”
The well in question is what is known as a bore well and can provide clean water for about 100 to 200 people, or around 40 families. According to the SOPAR website, these wells are usually drilled directly into easily accessible streets in order to ensure the largest number of beneficiaries. SOPAR has contributed to the construction of over 500 water towers and 4,500 manually-operated water pumps over 30 years that have benefited more than a million people.
“The lack of drinking water is a serious problem that affects living conditions in most rural areas of southern India,” the SOPAR website states. “Access to drinking water is a basic human right and an essential element in the prevention of diseases, improving health and reducing the already heavy workload of women and children who often travel long distances to fetch water.”
Wells are constructed with the help of local villagers, which also imparts important lessons about how the well works and how best to maintain them in the future. Some bore wells installed over 25 years ago still function efficiently today as a testament to the success of the program.
“I think this is really awesome,” Glassford said. “Most of the organizations that I’ve worked with haven’t really kept in touch personally, and I think it’s great how the organizer sent me pictures to show what we had really done.”