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“When the sky starts to darken, I feel elated,” expresses Balmati Magar of the Thama Rain Water Harvesting project area in Bhimgitthe, Ward No. 6, Baglung district. There is truth in what she says and it is the rain water harvesting system behind her joy. Balmati has been living by herself for five years, and her weakening legs means she finds it challenging to fetch water from far away.

Life on a hill top has not been easy for Balmati, especially as she had to raise her children (two sons and two daughters) on her own after her husband’s death. In time, Balmati’s daughters were married and her two sons were on their way to India to work. When she started living on her own, Balmati’s condition worsened.
Aging weakened her legs. But, unless she made the three hour round trip to collect water, she had nothing to drink. Initially, the neighbours helped her but that did not continue for long, and then she was left to manage it on her own. 

When the WASH project was implemented in the community by 
NEWAH, each and every household started constructing a rain water collection jar and toilet. There was a sanitation and hygiene campaign on how to maintain good personal hygiene and how to adopt household and environmental sanitation techniques across the community. 

Initially, Balmati felt helpless when she could not construct her own facilities. But once all the construction work had been completed, the community people helped her to erect a four thousand litre rain water harvesting jar, a toilet and a dish drying rack. 

Balmati said, “Once the jar was ready, a heavy rain almost filled it. Water from the jar is just enough for me for a period of six months. Whenever the sky starts to look gloomy I hope for the rains!”

Written by: Kopila Lamichane, Senior Health Educator
Name of Project: Thama Rain Water Harvesting Project, 
Location: Bhimgitthe VDC 6, Baglung district
Donor Agency: SIMAVI
Case study date: November 2011