Years of trekking arid paths to a reservoir for their water has come to an end for some 400 families in a remote hamlet in Sri Lanka’s dry zone, after the country’s top apparel exporter Brandix spearheaded an initiative to build a water supply scheme for their community.
A 60,000 litre concrete overhead water tank now stands proud in the middle of the village of Pubudugama in the Polonnaruwa District, testimony to the combined resources of two corporate donors, Brandix and Lanka Walltile PLC and the villagers themselves, who raised Rs 1 million and provided labour for the project.
Costing Rs 3.9 million, the project comprises of an eight metre well, a pump house, the overhead tank and the pipeline that brings the water to it. Potable water is now available on tap in the village, and it is expected that a distribution network that will take the water to individual homes will be built by the beneficiaries themselves at a later stage.
“This project exemplifies what can be achieved by working in partnership with the beneficiary community,” said Anusha Alles, Head of CSR at Brandix. “The villagers rose to the occasion, justifying our faith in them and buying into the project.”
She said Lanka Walltile had donated the materials required for the construction, while the Brandix Group had contributed the balance funds required and coordinated the work.
“We were happy to partner with Brandix Lanka on this project as we saw Pubudugama villagers in dire need of drinking water with nobody to help them. What is unique here is that the villagers themselves became key stakeholders by contributing finances that made a difference to the project, as otherwise it would have become unsustainable in the long run. Now we are confident that this scheme will function properly in the long run as the users themselves are stakeholders. We are indeed happy to be of help to this village that had endured many trials and tribulations during the years of war,” Mahendra Jayasekera, Managing Director of Lanka Walltile PLC said.
A ‘border’ village during the initial period of the recently concluded conflict, Pubudugama had been overlooked in the development of water supply infrastructure in the area, resulting in villagers having to walk more than two kilometers to an open reservoir for their water. Impurities in the water had been the cause of a high incidence of water-borne disease among the villagers, who had solicited the help of Brandix to resolve the problem.
The beneficiaries of the project are mostly low income subsistence farmers and their families. “The Brandix Group’s water and sanitation related projects are targeted as such at vulnerable and overlooked communities that desperately need help,” Ms Alles said.
Brandix pioneered the concept of total solutions in the Sri Lankan apparel industry and is Sri Lanka’s largest apparel exporter. The Group’s CSR efforts are driven by the central corporate theme ‘Water is Life’ and constitute a long term commitment to increasing the availability of water and the provision of safe drinking water to those most in need. The Group’s community outreach initiatives also include providing water through desalination plants, wells and pipe-borne water to communities in and around its manufacturing plants and the improvement of sanitation facilities in needy areas.