A little bit of history:
Bill Ross, President of Pure Water Initiative, is a founder of the India Baptist Theological Seminary. As students began to graduate from the seminary in Kottayam, Kerala, India and return to their villages in Northern India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Eastern India, Bill was made aware of their need to establish a Christian presence through their church or establish a church in their village. Many of the students looked to the U. S. for funding. While this practice was common, Bill became increasingly concerned about how to help the graduates achieve better standing in their communities. With the continuing need for pure water in many of the villages, it became evident that fulfilling a physical need would promote and support a spiritual need. Beginning with a grant from the board of Pure Water Initiative, 34 water projects were funded in the northern states of India; Nagaland, Maniphur, and Assam. In these areas the people had access to water during certain times of the year, but needed water tanks to provide water year around. Each graduate met with village leaders, developed a water plan that would meet their need and made proposals for pure water in their villages. Each agreed to maintain the water facilities they built to keep the water pure and to offer the water at no charge to anyone in their village. Since that venture Pure Water Initiative has built six tube wells in Northeastern India in the Andra Predesh and Orissa.
We have proposals for at least 15 more tube wells in Orissa and Andra Predesh.
Myanmar Water Projects:
Myanmar, also known as Burma, is a new frontier of development. Pure Water Initiative has funded nine wells in Myanmar including 5 projects in the Chin State. The Chin people live on the Myanmar/ India border. The villages that have become the focus of each water project have little to no electricity and little to no health care. They can only be reached by walking, horse back or motorcycle and depend solely on agriculture. In 2012 the first water projects were completed in the Chin State. In 2013, Bill had the opportunity to visit Myanmar and particularly one of the Chin State well projects in the Tabau village. The trip to the Tabau village took three days by bus, car and motorcycle. When he arrived in the village he was welcomed by all of the people and immediately taken to the water tank that had been built to provide water for the entire village. The access of water for the village saved each person a 3 mile walk each day to obtain pure water. When the village leaders were asked, “Does this make a difference?” The immediate response was, “It takes us from death to life!”
The Chin people of Myanmar:
Pure Water Initiative depends on a partnership with the village leaders. In the Chin State of Myanmar, when supplies are needed, there is little transportation. The people depend on motorcycles and they walk. So a water tank made of cement, a tin roof, two by four wood supports and framing, PVC piping to provide water to the village, must be transported to the village from the nearest small city or large township. Most of the villages have access only by trails. Once the funds are received, the people begin their trek through mountainous terrain to carry by hand and on their heads most of the supplies that will enable their village to have pure water.
To better understand how remote a village can be, Bill was told on his visit in 2013 that he was the first white skinned person to visit their village since the British governed Burma decades ago.
Most villagers have never had access to electricity.