Sundarbans villagers’ fight against water scarcity.

  • April 20, 2023
  • Jennifer Moore
Sundarbans villagers’ fight against water scarcity.

The seven-year-old Bini is running along the narrow lanes of the Satyanarayanpur village, Gosaba block in Sundarbans in search of fresh water. She takes a pause at every handpump station installed in her village by the government. While running from one handpump to another, she screams, “O kakima, jol esheche?” (Hey aunt, is the water available?).

Sundarbans are facing frequent wrath of cyclones, that contaminate the freshwater in ponds with saltwater from the rivers. The salinity intrusion causes villagers to suffer from diarrhea, food poisoning, and more. To control such a situation, handpumps are installed in the villages, where the freshwater is available three times a day. Two hours in the morning, two hours in the evening, and two hours at night. However, Bini is searching for water for the past two weeks, but sadly, it’s not available.

Also Read: From Despair to Empowerment: A Sundarbans Child’s Transformational Journey

Waiting in Thirst: Villagers in Sunderbans Anxiously Await Freshwater

Like Bini, there are 200 other families, piled up near the government-installed water pumps in the villages eagerly waiting for some freshwater to drink. Bini has been drinking boiled water from a nearby saltwater-contaminated pond for the past weeks. While she has already developed diarrhea, several other children in the village are suffering from severe problems such as poor digestion, vomiting, acid refluxes, stomach ache, etc. In the face of crisis, the owners of the land charge Bini’s family one dollar every month in exchange for water. 

After the wrath of the Yaas cyclone in 2021, several houses damage making people homeless. On top of that, the agricultural lands were damaged due to saltwater intrusion making the soil infertile for the next six years. Today, people in Sundarbans have no roof over their heads, no place to work, no water to drink, and very less food to eat. The Sundarbans are formed by the confluence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Meghna rivers, and the Bay of Bengal, where water bodies cover 30% of the forest. However, climate change and local policies have exacerbated a severe water shortage in significant parts of the area.

Due to dysfunctional pipelines and deep or saline groundwater, several families in the delta region have been forced to purchase drinking water as a means of survival. This is a major concern, given the impoverished state of the population, which lacks the resources to improve their situation.

“We can hardly afford a two-time meal, but now, we have to pay for the water as well,”
says Bini’s mother Lata.

The Harsh Reality of Water Insecurity: Bini’s Story of Hope amidst Poverty and Malnutrition

“Access to fresh water is a luxury for the people in Sundarbans.” – Lata Sardar (Bini’s mother, a 30yr old resident of Gosaba block, Sundarbans)

The Sundarbans is a unique ecosystem facing environmental challenges such as sea-level rise, salinization, and erosion. The scarcity of freshwater is a pressing issue due to the region’s geography. Additionally, the impact of human activities such as the construction of dams and the diversion of water. The people rely on rainwater or expensive methods for freshwater, which strains their livelihoods and health.

The PayBito team, on its mission to end global hunger, reached the thirst encrypt village of Gosaba to initiate their ‘Brokering World Hunger Away’ movement. While conducting a survey through the village, they came across little Bini running around the village with a face full of hope to get fresh water. The team quickly followed the little girl, to find out her story. On meeting her mother, exposure of the harsh reality and the real struggle of the villagers.

“During Amphan, our home was blown out. We rebuilt it with our savings, but the roof was again torn off by the Yaas cyclone in 2021. How many times do we have to rebuild it? We don’t have that much money. We have adjusted this house and used plastic as the roof. During the storm, we take shelter in the nearest cyclone shelter,” says Lata.

Amphan: The Storm That Shattered Dreams

Amphan in 2020 caused huge damage to the islands of Sundarbans. Several houses damage, with more than four thousand trees damage by the river. Bini’s house was a victim of Amphan. While the family used up all their savings to rebuild a roof over their head, cyclone Yaas in 2021 took away the roof of their house. However, due to the poor financial situation, the family couldn’t repair their house and are using plastic instead of a solid roof. In times of rain and cyclones, the family takes shelter in the cyclone shelters built by the government in the village. 

“There is no food most days. We eat boiled rice and fish on most days. However, sometimes we only get to eat boiled rice with local herbs. During the rainy season, we usually depend on NGOs or help from government-initiated Anganwadi group.”

Poverty and hunger are the constant companions of the villagers in Sundarbans. Bini’s family, after cyclone Yaas, could hardly make ends meet. With no work opportunities in the village, the family can arrange only boiled rice, and fish for lunch and dinner. There have been days when the family relied on boiled rice, and the local herbs available in the village. During the rainy season, the villagers cannot earn enough and often rely on Non-governmental organizations and government initiatives such as Anganwadi. 

“My daughter Bini goes to school every day to get the mid-day meals. She can eat a wholesome meal and even gets boiled eggs regularly. Sometimes, her teacher distributes extra eggs, and Bini brings them home for all of us to share.”

Government Initiatives to Help Children in Sundarbans

The government initiated a mid-day meal program that has helped children like Bini to attend school, as they get free education and free meals. Lata is at peace as her daughter gets at least one time of wholesome meal, with boiled eggs that the family cannot afford. Sometimes Bini gets lucky and brings home the extra eggs provided by her teacher to share with the family. 

Bini is a spirited girl, and the PayBito team already identified hope in her, when they found her running around the village with a smiling face, asking the villagers politely if water is available in the underground tap water plant. Bini is an example of spirit, as she has never let the hardships they are going through break her hope. The PayBito team was happy with the hope and resilience of Bini amidst all the hardships. 

PayBito’s Brokering World Hunger Away Movement in Sundarbans

PayBito, a cryptocurrency broker platform, has launched a campaign called “Brokering World Hunger Away” to eliminate hunger worldwide. 

The platform offers tailored services for individual brokers, institutional investors, and entrepreneurs interested in investing in the crypto market. Creating an account is a simple process taking less than three minutes and can provide a reliable source of passive income. By joining the platform and earning commissions, investors can directly support the “Brokering World Hunger Away” movement. 

PayBito’s “Dollar for a Dollar” program ensures that an equivalent amount of money will be utilized to support the initiative for every dollar earned as a commission on the platform. This presents an opportunity for investors to contribute to society’s welfare and eradicate global hunger. Thereafter, without investing any money or incurring any risks.

PayBito Brokering Hope Among Children Like Bini 

PayBito is a US-based crypto exchange platform, that embarked on its end global hunger mission from the UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site of Sundarbans. The PayBito team although pledged to help needy children with nutritious and wholesome foods, also decided to help them live a better life. To provide a sustainable solution to children like Bini, the firm joined hands with local organizations and NGOs. 

  • Employment/Work Opportunities: The PayBito team is dedicated to training men and women in different fields to help them with work opportunities. Pottery art workshops, along with stitching workshops for women in the village. On the other hand, the men are provided with different workshops on healthcare and automobile repair as employment opportunities. 
  • Provide Freshwater: The freshwater crisis is real in Sundarbans. PayBito team is distributing clean water barrels to the families. Moreover, it provides fresh water barrels in different parts of the villages for every family to access. 
  • Financial Aid: Women are provided with a sewing kit, and pottery kits to start their businesses. While several women are provided with orders from clients, others start working under someone else’s wing. Men are provided with cycles to travel to distant cities. 
  • Rebuild/Repair Houses: The PayBito team has dedicated their focus on repairing and rebuilding houses broken or torn down in the cyclone. The aim is to provide children like Bini with a better place to live. Thereafter, provide a safe environment to grow up in, and get healthy nutritious meals every day. 

Looking Forward

The struggle of Sundarban villagers is real, so much so that a glass of fresh drinking water is a luxury to them. The PayBito team has dedicated its focus to helping the needy children of Sundarbans like Bini. Thereafter, keeping up their hope by providing them with a better future. Join PayBito’s crypto broker platform today, and contribute directly to the welfare of the children of Sundarbans.

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