A 55-year-old woman from Ganesh Nagar in Sirsi, Uttara Kannada district, has taken it upon herself to dig a well to ensure a steady supply of water for the children attending the local Anganwadi.
Gauri Nayka said she began the task of digging a 4-foot-wide well within the premises of the Anganwadi centre near her house around a week ago. Each day, she diligently excavates a depth of one-and-a-half feet, laboriously hauling tens of baskets of soil with the assistance of basic tools like hoe, pickaxe, basket, and rope.
“My mother goes for work at 7.30 am daily and comes back by 12 noon, again she goes at 3pm and comes back by 6pm,” her son, Vinay Nayka said.
Her goal is to complete the well within a month, ensuring a reliable water source for the community.
Explaining her motivation behind the initiative, Gauri shared that water scarcity in Ganesh Nagar prompted her to take action, particularly upon witnessing the plight of the Anganwadi children struggling for access to drinking water.
Undeterred by the physical demands of the task, she has already dug two wells in 2017 and 2018, demonstrating her unwavering commitment to addressing the water crisis.
The Anganwadi centre serves as a vital hub for 15 children in the community, providing essential care and early education. However, the persistent water shortage poses a significant challenge, with the Hutgar gram panchayat supplying water only once every two days. Despite this, the children still rely on water fetched from an external well for drinking purposes, highlighting the urgent need for a sustainable solution.
“I dug up a well with a depth of 65 feet near my home to irrigate the areca nut crop,” Gauri said. “We are facing an acute shortage of water for my small farmland. Hence, I decided to dig up the well in three months and succeeded. I dug up another well of 40 feet depth in my farmland. I came to know that the Anganwadi is facing an acute shortage of water during the summer season as the gram panchayat supplies water only once every two days. I get self-satisfaction with this work, hence I did not seek anybody’s help,” she added.
Her family supports her idea of helping the children.
“We have a piece of land, I own an aquarium shop in Sirsi and manage the family. The well work may be completed in 90 days, and a week is already gone. Every day, my mother digs one-and-a-half feet and removes the soil using a ladder. When she goes inside, she uses pulley and twine to remove the soil,” said her son.
Those working at the Anganwadi centre are grateful for Gauri’s selfless efforts, emphasising the critical importance of access to clean water for the children’s well-being.
“Gauri’s work gives us all hope and shows how someone with their determination can uplift the lives of the most vulnerable members of society,” said a teacher, Jyoti Nayka.