Despite its name, Happy Hills Village in Bangladesh was “Unhappy for water,” according to GMP partner, Vana Bawm.
The remote village in the Bandarban Hills experiences a water crisis each year during the dry season. This threatens the livelihoods and health of the community.
The Happy Hills Village is located at the top of the mountains. To collect water, people must trek down the dangerous terrain to a small local river. During the extreme heat of the dry season, the riverbed dries up and water becomes scarce. The long walk down the mountain takes at least an hour and returning up the steep hills during the dry season can leave people dehydrated and feeling dizzy. Because the water levels are so low, people do not get enough water. Vana said their days and nights are spent in worry, fighting for their survival, “They want the water.”
When Vana visited the village to conduct a survey, in his role as Project Director, he saw the lifestyles of the people, “Forget bathing and cooking – there isn’t enough water for that.” All their water comes from a small, dried-up and potentially contaminated river source. Many people in the village contract water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera. Bathing in unclean water also causes infections. For those who can afford it, safe water can be purchased at the local market. People carry containers and pots to the market and pay to have them filled with safe water. However, not many of the people from Happy Hills Village can afford to purchase this water. The 60 families in the village pool their resources together to fill one small pot of water per household. “They didn’t have clean water for anything other than drinking,” Vana said. All of this is what makes Happy Hills Village not so ‘happy.’
However, thanks to GMP’s aid and development partner, Community Advancement Forum (CAF), Happy Hills Village doesn’t have to be “unhappy for water” any longer.
A tube well was installed in the Happy Hills Village this year through the CAF Community Sustainability project. The digging process began in March 2022 and was completed by May. As the deep drilling began, “Everyone [in the village] started bubbling in their hearts as they found water,” Vana said. There will now be plenty of water pumped to the top of the mountain. The community was very excited. The water will refresh everybody during the dry season. Vana tasted the water and says, “The water is cool in the summer heat.”
A local government official inaugurated the tube well at the opening ceremony. One mother holding her baby collecting water from the well was full of gratitude, "On behalf of the Happy Hill Village, special thanks to the program for providing the new tube well, which truly reduced our suffering for water every year and fills [us] with unspeakable joy." Another man exclaimed, “It is beyond our imagination we would receive this facility in our village.”
Thank you for being a part of Safe Water September. You are helping make safe water accessible to remote villages like Happy Hills, in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh CAF - Community Sustainability Program is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).