June 17, 2010
When Raghabendra KC (Class of 2013) learned that each year nearly 45,000 children below the age of five years die in his native Nepal from sanitation related problems, he knew he had to do something.
“With the poorest drinking water and sanitation coverage in South Asia, Nepal and its people are in dire need of assistance,” said KC.
Supported by the Office of Community Engagement (OCE), KC, who serves as vice president of the student-service club Making Lives Better, decided to combat the problem this summer through (what he calls?) “Mission-Aqua.” KC traveled to Nepal installing five compact water purifiers at the Bal Mandir Primary schools in the remote village of Doti as well as in Shridiwa in the city of Kathmandu.
“Improving the quality of the water supply and sanitation has been shown to reduce the morbidity due to different diseases by significant amounts,” said KC. “Prior to Mission-Aqua, the students were drinking untreated water straight out of the tap. The school in Doti had its water reserve tank beside a huge waste dump and, not surprisingly, the tank had no lid. There are usually over a dozen cases every term of students missing school because of water borne diseases.”
For a cost of $550, Mission Aqua directly benefited 576 school staff and children as they were provided with clean drinking water and better health.
“My trip of over 2,000 kilometers through 15 districts was 15 days long and was rewarded heavily by smiling faces and warm blessings,” said KC.
"Mission-Aqua provided clean drinking water and thus, better health for less than a dollar per person thanks to the exchange rate. Making Lives Better plans to adopt this ‘less than a dollar a person’ mission for its 2010-11 programs, which will benefit thousands of deprived Nepalese in remote areas of the country.”
KC said that the information obtained in his summer trip will serve as primary data for the Making Lives Better trip to Nepal in summer 2011.
--Brittany Fornof (Class of 2011)