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Subhadra Bajgain, from Ugrachandi Nala village, 30km east of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, used to wake up at 3am every morning to climb down a steep ravine to fetch water for her family.

Some mornings she even had to make this trip three times before sunrise. But the water she collected wasn’t safe to drink.

Subhadra Bajgain, third from right, with her family.
Subhadra Bajgain, third from right, and her family.
Photo: WaterAid/Mani Karmacharya

“We never cleaned the water source so whatever came into it, likes flies, insects, snakes, or even dead animals, we just left there because didn’t know what to do about it,” she explains.

One night, five of Subhadra’s six children became sick with diarrhoea and fever. By the morning two had died. “If we had had the right information my children wouldn’t have passed away,” says Subhadra.

Bringing safe water to Ugrachandi Nala

As part of the HSBC Water Programme, WaterAid worked with its local partner, the Centre for Integrated Urban Development, to tap a natural spring in Subhadra’s village. The water is then collected in a storage tank so it doesn’t get contaminated, and piped to three new taps around the village.

One tap is in Subhadra’s front yard, which allows her to make ice so her family can run a business storing milk before it is sold to Kathmandu.

The new taps have also helped prevent the spread of diseases. Diarrhoea used to be a constant illness in the village, which prevented children from going to school and adults from working, and was life-threatening to the very young.

Laxmi Sapkota, middle, with her son Sudip, left, and her daughter Prakriti, right.
Laxmi Sapkota, middle, with her son Sudip, left, and her daughter Prakriti, right.
Photo: WaterAid/Mani Karmacharya

“The biggest change in my life since getting water is I’m no longer getting any diseases. We can do everything when we are healthy. We can move around, work and earn money,” says Laxmi Sapkota, who also lives in Ugrachandi Nala.

Previously, one in five homes in the village didn't have a toilet, and some villagers had to risk run-ins with local wildlife.

“One day, I went to the toilet at four in the morning and a tiger appeared. I ran away and only survived because the tiger ate a dog on the path home,” says Sushila Priyaar, another villager.

Sushila Priyaar, Ugrachandi Nala village, Nepal.
Sushila Priyaar.
Photo: WaterAid/Mani Karmacharya

Now there is a toilet in every home in the village. “Now we have a toilet things are much easier and I’m very happy,” says Sushila.

Read more about our work in Nepal >