Water is just the beginning for Sankur
Water is just the beginning for Sankur
We sat outside of his house on a straw mat at the very top of the hill, overlooking the small village of Raitole. He spoke looking out at his community— every word fueled by his passion for his people.
“I donated all this land so that all 71 households could have water,” he said, still looking out in front of us. “Some people can go to temples and give their money to God. I can’t afford to do that yet. But I can give my land so that my entire community can have water. This is my offering to God.”
When Sankur Harijan was 2-years-old, he and his father fled the Hill region into Raitole’s dry Terai region because the village he was born in was destroyed by flooding. Way back then, Raitole was only a jungle; there were no roads, no houses and definitely no clean water. Being forced to find a new home where water is less than reliable, Sankur and his family had to learn how to survive. But from these struggles, Sankur found a passion for providing future generations with the opportunity to live a life where access to clean water is not a daily concern.
Sankur is now the Village Maintenance Worker in Raitole. Sankur’s involvement in and passion for every phase of Raitoles project has put him in a position of leadership for the community. He began to see that Wine To Water was a true community partner, advocating for more than just clean water for all who live in Raitole.
“This area used to be so dry but with the presence of water—people are starting to move here—people want to live here,” Sankur said.
Water brought hope that Sankur hadn’t felt before-- hope that the people of Raitole hadn’t felt before-- hope that their lives could be permanently changed for the better as a result of having access to clean drinking water.
Wine To Water’s wholistic WASH program began one year ago in Raitole. From tap stands at every home, to hygiene and sanitation education, and now on to tunnel farming, the community is growing quickly.
Roshani Karki, head of all Nepal operations for W|W, identified tunnel farming as a livelihood initiative in our program. Tunnel farms are essentially micro-greenhouses that can help commercial farmers grow seasonal crops year-round. The benefits are abundant for farmers, improving the overall yield of their produce and allowing them to sell a portion of their produce at the market.
Naturally, Sankur was the first person to rally behind this farming initiative. He saw the vision W|W had for this program and knew it would be a success. Partnering with Abhishek Basnet, W|W Nepal Field Coordinator, he created the Farmer’s User Committee to serve as a guiding resource for the other farmers that have signed up for this program.
“We have water and now we are starting to grow vegetables and there is hope that we will be able to sell those vegetables and gain money from it,” Sankur said.
There are 10 tunnel farms around the village now, each farmer taking just as much pride in their growth as the last. But perhaps the most pride comes from Sankur. Because of him, the other nine farms exist. He was the one that allowed this hope—this dream—the true opportunity for everyone in Raitole to grow.
“We are given the mud and the earth and two hands to do something with it—and what a gift this is—one that we can’t let go to waste,” Sankur said.
He turned to us then, looked Roshani straight in the eye and said, “Water brought so many things and I know it will continue to bring so many things.”
Water is just the beginning.
At this point, we want to encourage you to join The Tap. The Tap is an incredible group of monthly givers that help bring clean water to so many communities like Raitole and to people like Sankur all around the world. To partner with us monthly, click here.
Nepal International Fellow