Fisherwoman. Breadwinner. Homemaker. Mum.
As a widow, she’s the sole provider for her small family. She earns a little money by catching fish and selling them in the market – trying to make enough to feed her two children and send them to school. But it’s tough.
Apart from being vulnerable to natural disasters, such as cyclones, the small village where she lives in Bangladesh has a real struggle accessing safe, clean water.
The lack of something so essential in day to day life makes circumstances that are already challenging, much more difficult. Drinking, cooking and keeping clean become nearly impossible. It's hard to do simple things like wash hands, meaning viruses spread easily. Unsafe water carries diseases itself, causing things like diarrhoea, which can be deadly for children.
During the rainy season, there’s plenty of rainwater which can be used – if there's a way to store it. Trying to collect it used to take up a lot of Basheera's time, but at least they had drinking water. The dry months were far more difficult. In those times, she had to pay for water for her family to drink and she struggled to afford it.
Also, with no road from her house to the village, fetching and carrying water for the rest of her family’s daily needs was very difficult. One day, in doing so, she slipped and fell, hurting her back. Now she needs medication to deal with the pain.
The injury made carrying water even more of a challenge.
‘I am very happy and very grateful to Tearfund for providing me with the water tank. After receiving the tank, I really have some changes in my life.’ Basheera, Bangladesh.
Let it rain
Fortunately, Basheera is an active and enthusiastic member of a self-help group run by our local church partner. Made up of 20 members who support and encourage each other, the group brings hope to Basheera. They introduced her to another partner organisation that we fund, who gave her a rainwater harvesting tank.
‘I am very happy and very grateful to Tearfund for providing me with the water tank,’ says Basheera. ‘After receiving the tank, I really have some changes in my life.’
Life is getting better for Basheera.
‘I do not have to spend time carrying water,’ she explains. ‘I have extra time for my family and fishing. Now I can earn more money. I don’t have to worry about drinking water because I have a 1,000 litre rainwater harvesting tank. My tank is full to the brim with rainwater. My family is very small so we can drink the water for at least three months while the water crisis [continues].’
Something as simple as providing a way for people to use their natural resources can make a huge difference. In some places, it’s solar panels for light and power. For Basheera, it’s a tank to catch some of the large amounts of precious rainwater that fall every year.
Being able to collect and store safe, clean drinking water means that it’s easier for Basheera to do the things that matter – things like keeping her children healthy, spending time with them, and going fishing to provide income for their food and education.