Scarcity of water affects around ten per cent of the world’s population and has a disproportionate impact on inhabitants of developing countries. Even in the year 2020, people are left facing the daunting and demanding task of travelling long distances to collect water for their families, which often is unclean and has the potential to cause life threatening illnesses.
The issues of water shortages have once more been laid bare by the coronavirus crisis. Villages in developing countries which do not have reliable access to water are unable to practice good hygiene in order to protect themselves and others and curb the rate of the virus’ spread. Furthermore, the need for water only leaves women and girls, tasked with collecting water, burdened with additional pressure.
Yet, there are ten inspiring water charity philanthropists who have been working to put an end to this issue and guarantee access to clean water for some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. Included among them are esteemed names such as Eleanor Allen, the CEO of the Water for People charity, and Seth Maxwell who founded and runs the Thirst Project. But taking pride of place among those named is Digimax and Digimax Dental founder and entrepreneur Shaz Memon, who set-up the Wells on Wheels programme.
Wells on Wheels is a charity with a unique spin that has sought to ease the burden on women and young girls in India who are tasked with collecting water, via practical means. Almost 163 million Indian people are deprived of access to clean water near their homes and are forced to travel extended distances in high temperatures, and Memon is on a mission to change the many million such lives for the better.
The charity supplies Indian villages with a piece of equipment known as a water wheel, which is geared for the convenient transporting of water over distance. Based on the design of the modern water cooler which occupies most western office environments, the water wheel is a robust and affordable, high density polythene wheeled transport solution for transporting water.
Each water wheel is capable of carrying 45 litres of water, reducing the number of trips to the water source. With each water wheel supplied, the need for more people to retrieve water recedes, meaning that every water wheel equals two Indian girls that are now able to attend school having been freed of their water collecting duties.
The Wells on Wheels charity has already gained some reputation in India, featuring in the Times of India newspaper. Memon’s stock back in the UK is also on the rise, having scooped the accolade of Corporate Social Responsibility award for the year 2019.
Getting reliable and clean water across the globe requires much more work to be done, but the tireless efforts of Memon and other philanthropists have resulted in many global communities gaining access to potable water.
And Memon is nowhere near finished yet, eyeing up a personal target to positively impact the lives of one million people by the year 2025.
He said: “In the next 15 years, I would like to empower girls to turn their futures around by gaining access to education that they would have otherwise been denied due to water collection duties.”