I learned as a child growing up in New York City that water came from a faucet. That was all I knew and all I had to know. Clean, safe, good-tasting water was available on demand.
I don’t remember when I learned that this access was not universal, but the lack of water and its disproportionate effect on women around the world has been brought to my attention again recently at TEDx North Adams and at several presentations at local Dining for Women meetings.
The first speaker at TEDx, Hamza Farrukh, began with a story of a woman in rural South Asia getting up before dawn, walking over four hours to find water, carrying it home to prepare a meal for her family, and repeating that process day after day. There was no opportunity for her to go to school. Nor was the water she found necessarily safe to drink. Her story was symbolic of the over 1.2 billion people who lack access to safe water.
This story did not surprise me. I had heard similar stories at Rotary meetings describing efforts to build wells in Africa. Many of the projects funded by Dining for Women aim to improve health and education for women and girls by supplying safe, accessible water to reduce disease and allow girls the time to go to school.
What was new to me was Farrukh’s solution to the problem, which is a cost effective, sustainable solar powered box that can be assembled in under ten minutes and supply millions of cups of filtered water every year for over twenty years. The box costs between $5,000 and $7,000. Bondh E Shams, or the Solar Water Project he founded, can change lives and save lives.
Farrukh is 24 years old. His passion and creativity are inspirational.