A family home in Kollenkavu
Kollenkavu (pronounced “kollen-gau”) is a Christian colony (village) that was set up about 40 years ago for Dalit reed-workers, a very poor section of society. Over the years the buildings have decayed and some have become almost uninhabitable. Many of the houses lacked a well, which meant that people had to wait for long hours for a tanker to come and provide them with water. And many more homes had no sanitation. This was particularly difficult for women. Their modesty made them unwilling to ‘go’ outside during the day and they risked being attacked if they went out during the hours of darkness.
Waiting for water
As a Christian village they suffered discrimination, and many villagers were told that the government would only help them improve their homes if they took the Hindu certificate, effectively declaring themselves to be Hindus. Most of them have refused.
New toilet / washroom
Bethany Church at Six Bells near Abertillery has been extraordinarily generous, and has provided us with enough funds to ensure that every home has a basic toilet/washroom, and that every family either has a well or has access to one. We then started a rolling programme of repairing roofs, and have enabled a number of the most decrepit roofs to be replaced.
The effect on the village has been palpable. Where there was once hopelessness and despair there is now hope and joy. Everywhere you look there are brightly painted toilets, either in people’s gardens or incorporated into houses. This has made a huge improvement to the people’s lives.
A happy reed-worker