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Foundation campaigns to help East Sumba tackle water, electricity issues

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sun, September 25, 2016  /  10:27 am
Foundation campaigns to help East Sumba tackle water, electricity issues

Set to improve the locals' standard of living by providing the most basic necessities, Light + Water = Life is a campaign by Yayasan Waterhouse Indonesia (Waterhouse Project) that collaborates with Singapore-based non-profit organization, the Sendalight Project. (instagram.com/waterhouse_project/File)

Nearly 60 million people in Indonesia are still experiencing a scarcity of clean water, especially in East Sumba where the supply of electricity remains a problem.

Set to improve the locals' standard of living by providing the most basic necessities, Light + Water = Life is a campaign by Yayasan Waterhouse Indonesia (Waterhouse Project) that is collaborating with a Singapore-based non-profit organization called the Sendalight Project. “We plan to help 500 families who live in Pambuatanjara village in East Sumba,” Waterhouse Project co-founder Thanya Ponggawa told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

“We will use a solar water pump to pump the water down the hill and up to their village through an underground channel,” said Priska Ponggawa, Thanya's sister, who co-founded the project alongside Eunice Salim and Cindy Angelina, adding that most of the villages in Sumba were located in the hills. 

Meanwhile, Sendalight will distribute solar-powered lanterns to families with no electricity. The lanterns can be charged under the sun for six hours and they can last for 12 hours. “Last month we already distributed the lamps to 200 families in Pambuatanjara village, which is the first phase of the campaign,” said Thanya. Prior to having the lanterns, the locals used traditional kerosene lamps. “[Kerosene] lamps only give a glimmer of light; they are also fire hazards and their smoke is dangerous for the lungs.”

(Read also: Bajo ‘water tribe’ choked by water crisis)

According to the Waterhouse Project, the scarcity of clean water in Pambuatanjara had made a bad impact on various essential aspects of local lives, such as health, education and their work as farmers. The residents, especially mothers and children, usually have to often go back and forth to the water source. “[The water source) is actually not that far, but the water replenishes slowly, thus it is named mata air menunggu (waiting for the water),” said Thanya. The situation will get severe between September and December when the dry season comes. “They have to buy water for Rp 250,000 [US$19.13] per tank, while they only earn Rp 500,000 per month."

For the first phase of the campaign, the Waterhouse Project cooperated with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and with several other parties, including Ling Ling restaurant where a charity dinner and art auction was held on Wednesday. 

The foundation plans to help another four villages next year. Those who are interested in participating in the charity may visit the organization's Instagram account. (kes)

 

1/3 a little preview of our journey @waterhouse_project @angelinacindy @thanyaponggawa @eunicesalim

A video posted by Priska Ponggawa (@pikaponggawa) on

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