Clean Water: Combat Kidney Disease in Sri Lankan Village
Organized by: Yohan Sumathipala
Kandiyapita, a rural Sri Lankan village faces an epidemic of chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD is a serious health threat in Sri Lanka and has been affecting farmers for over a decade. Causing eventual kidney failure, the disease ravages poor farming families. Attributed to the heavy use of agro-chemicals in farming, water contamination in drinking wells and other sources of drinking water poses a formidable threat. Unable to get clean drinking water, the whole community is at risk, especially the children. The students at the Kandiyapita school do not want to simply look on as they see relatives taking ill. They have a solution, to gather rain water during the rainy season and store it for drinking purposes. They came up with this solution on their own after researching, conducting oral interviews and written surveys. Their rain water collection system has an estimated cost of $700 and a capacity of 7,000 L. This system is made of a series of plastic tanks and a gutter system that directs water incident on the school roof. They chose this design because of its lower cost and sustainability compared to a powered filtration system (> $ 6,000) which has a heavy maintenance cost for electricity and filters. Education to Empowerment (E2E) is working with the school on this project to collect rainwater for drinking. Founded by Yohan Sumathipala, a '16 graduate of Swarthmore College, Yohan and E2E has been working with the students and teachers at the Kandiyapita school for almost five years. Begun as an educational project, their work also tackles finding solutions to community problems such as this.