To help achieve its organizational objectives Lha is seeking funds to complete its clean water project which focusses on the provision of clean drinking water at identified areas of need in Dharamsala.
Whilst Dharamsala receivers the second highest rainfall in India, the community suffers from the effects of both polluted drinking water and water shortages. This is due to inadequate water storage facilities and outdated drainage and septic systems which are simply overwhelmed by heavy monsoon rains.
The large numbers of refugees living in poverty means that they are forced to rely on India’s inadequate public water system. According to a 2009 survey, 94% of Tibetan refugees drink tap water because few can afford to regularly buy filtered water.
Illnesses caused by contaminated drinking water include chronic gastro intestinal problems (including extreme diarrhea), with typhoid and cholera also regularly reported in the Tibetan refugee community. These illnesses can all prove to be fatal.
Contaminated water is not only being used for drinking but also for cooking, thus exacerbating pre-existing nutritional issues and adding to a low level of health within the community. Furthermore, these health issues mean that many children are unable to attend school and adults are unable to go to work, which adds to the challenges faced by the refugee community on a day to day basis.
LHA has tried to address this problem for the most vulnerable segments of the refugee population through a project of installing point-of-service water filtration systems. LHA has identified nine critical sites for these installations (mostly schools) and since 2010 has been able to put four units in service. The Reverse osmosis / Ultraviolet systems used also includes a five hundred liter storage tank which provides an emergency / reserve water supply in the event of a power outage, water shortage or other problems.
Lha is seeking monetary support to install systems at the five additional identified sites, which include both schools and monasteries in the area.