Bithi Begum lives in Fakirabad village of Kushtia district, an area with severe Arsenic contamination in groundwater. Due to complex mobility of Arsenic, it is difficult to get safe water at a permissible level in such areas. The high expenses of setting up and maintaining Arsenic removal units make Arsenic free water access rare in these localities.
Soon after her marriage, Bithi realised that her in-law’s household groundwater supply is tainted with arsenic and her husband and his family have been unknowingly drinking this contaminated water. Consequently, all the family members were affected with Arsenicosis, which left scars on their bodies. Bithi Begum became alarmed, especially of the social stigma the future generation might go through for Arsenicosis. She persuaded her husband to re-install a tube-well in hope of getting arsenic-free water, but unfortunately, the water was still contaminated.
Bithi Begum’s neighbour, a member of SAJIDA Foundation, told her about the WaterCredit loan facility. She took a loan of BDT 35,000 from SAJIDA’s WaterCredit program, which helped her install a tube-well that facilitated her with arsenic free water. Now, Bithi Begum and her family have access to safe drinking water, resulting in an improved standard of living and freedom from social stigmas.
“I was very worried when I realised my husband and in-laws have been drinking contaminated water for so long. I tried installing a new tube-well but that did not help either. Now that we have access to safe water supply, I am no longer worried about our possibility of facing social ostracization. We can now dream of a happier future.”