FIBRE ARTS AUSTRALIA

header photo

INDIA WATER PROJECT: BAJANYA, ZAINABAD, GUJARAT, INDIA

Over the many years that Fibre Arts Australia has been running, we have fundraising during the event to raise money for specific charities that is close to the Fibre Arts heart!

These were the Cancer Council of Australia and MIND.

After many years of giving to both of these charities and a lot of money handed over to them, it concerned me that most of what we gave from your hard earned little art pieces (10x10), was going into a CEO’s pocket.

It disgusted me that these organisations were getting massive amounts of money and only a portion of any fundraising was going to the right places…. I will get off my band wagon now, but I am sure you know just what I am talking about!!

I started going to India in 2015… never really wanted to go but when I got there I realised that I never want to go anywhere else…well , you know what I mean!!

In October  2017 Nonie and I travelled to India into Gujarat, Zianabad province very near the Little Rann Desert.

What happened on that trip was to change our lives and the lives of an “untouchable caste” community of Bhajanya. The community of 200 people strong.

Over hearing a heated discussion with our host of Desert Courses, Dhanraj Malik and Jivi, the matriarch of this community we realised that there was something that we could do with the monies that are raised with our “10x10x10” exhibitions that we have at each event.

The argument was over a ‘hole in the tank’!

JIVI

Let me tell you a little bit of history here…. being an ‘untouchable caste’ this community had no clean drinking water in their villiage so they had to beg water from other villages, sometimes it would be 24 days before they received any water.

Bells started to ring in our heads about what we could do.

Speaking to Dhanraj about our concerns we asked what would be the best way to approach the ‘non-water’ issue. Dhanraj called the community meeting to ask them what they really would like access to a clean water supply. 35 members of the community and the Mayor of Zianabad came and spoke to us about their concerns.

What they would really love would be to have running water in every house… we could see that this would be a herculean project so suggested that we get water to the community by other means….

After days of discussion with Dhanraj about how Fibre Arts Australia could go about getting water into the community, Dhanraj simply said “we will dig a well”!

Yeah… right! We are in the middle of a huge desert!!

In three days the plan for the well had been hatched and things put in place to make sure that all was planned and sorted with the authorities…. I might mention here that Dhanraj is the Prince of this area and holds a great influence over many people… a delight to watch the cogs work around this amazing man!!

We came home and left Dhanraj to work his magic…. By December we had a hole in the ground and at 550 feet pure Himalayan water was found with an astronomical flow.

January saw the capping of the well, pump found and placed on site, 420 feet of plastic pipe that one of the ‘well team’ found!

Pump lowered into the hole and turned on… water flowed for the first time in 150 years into the community…. Many ceremonies and thanks to the Gods were in full swing in the community!

Then the pump stopped, remember that this was a second-hand pump.

4 times it was pulled out of the ground to fix it, remembering it is 400 feet every time this pump has to come up.

The decision was made that perhaps it would be best to buy a new pump…we would then know that it will last for as long as the community.

So … up came the old pump(let me tell you, the ingenuity of these amazing ‘well team’ in how they bring up and place back down again with many hand-made tools, just blows my mind) .. New pump attached and sent to the bottom of the bore hole.

When Nonie and I heard that the new pump was working and the switches were ready to be turned on, we booked a flight and went to Bhajanya to perform the inaugural switching on of the power that would be life changing to these wonderful people!!

With a pump house build with high tech equipment inside and three overflow tanks on the top, we turned on the pump, but not after Dhanraj had to get the electricity turned back on as it was just 5.05pm and the power gets cut off at 5pm!! Dhanraj worked his magic again…. Nonie and I turned on the switch and with great excitement saw the water pouring into the overflow tanks on top of the pump house!

For those of you who may know about quantities here are the stats….

The pump has a 20 horsepower motor

The new pump cost $AU758.15

It is 380 feet deep into the ground.

It is pumping out 500 litres a minute.

It needs to run for 6 minutes to fill the two 5000 litre tanks that are the holding tanks for the community that will support them for a day.

The community is about 200 with 25 ‘houses’

Dhanraj is able to control the turning on and off of the pump from anywhere in the world. Fibre Arts Australia has bought a “switch” CELL PHONE MOTOR STARTER for $AU100 that has a sim-card that is connected to Dhanraj’s phone, so he can control the water from wherever he is, so as not to waste a precious drop.

Fibre Arts Australia Water Project Bhajanya, Zainabad.

Water is distributed into the community via a pipe under the road that is then connect to a series of 6 taps that have locks on them. Each family group has keys to one tap; they are responsible to lock the tap after they have filled their utensils.  The taps are low enough so as to make it rather difficult to bathe under. This water is for cooking and drinking only. There is a lake close by that they bathe and wash their clothes, thus saving the precious ground water for drinking.

There are still some teething problems, but the basics are there and the community is ecstatic by the gift that Fibre Arts Australia (you) have given them!!

Before we left this very rushed visit, we had another meeting to see what it is that the community needed… rather than saying we can give you this and that, we asked them the question.

What they desperately needed was plates, cups, bowls, tea pots, cooking utensils etc.… not for individual use but to use for weddings, ceremonies, funerals etc.

As you know, Nonie and I need no excuse to go to an Indian hardware store, with a list the community request… and shop we did…

100 aluminium plates

100 aluminium bowls

100 aluminium cups

3 large pots

1 huge cooking wok

Jugs

Teapots

Cooking utensils

All for the princely sum of $AU300.

We have another project for the community brewing in our minds…that will come later in the year… it is exciting and will make a huge difference to the Bhajanya community!

Nonie and I thank you for your support for making all those 10x10’s, the ‘stuff’ for the Top Table that is auctioned with glee and the providers that keep the ‘junk Room’ full!

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts, as I am sure it is extended from the community as well.

Glenys and Nonie