Age is Nothing But a Number

By Nagulan Nesiah.


In partnership with the Amity Foundation, Episcopal Relief & Development began a program in China to combat pollution and improve health in rural communities such as the Puxi Village. In the Puxi Village, a tiny locale in south central China, many of the villagers fetch drinking water from a ditch down the steep hill they live on top of. As you can imagine, this trip can become especially dangerous on rainy days. Ms. Wang Liqin, a 72 year old woman said, “During rainy days, we feel helpless because the small hill pass becomes very slippery.” What makes the situation even more complicated is the fact that almost all of the young people in this village go to the cities to find better employment opportunities — that leaves the elderly villagers alone to take care of themselves. In this village, someone who is 60 years old is considered a “young person.”

To address the issue of inaccessible clean water, members of the community were engaged in a process to help create a plan that works specifically for their village. The community started by drawing maps of their town, locating all the assets and challenges. Then they discussed options for how to improve things and eventually talked about how their ideas could be implemented. With facilitation from Amity Foundation, they were able to develop a plan that incorporates rainwater catchment systems and water tanks, the installation of sanitary toilets next to people’s homes and the implementation of garbage and collection and disposal systems. Not only were they a part of the planning process, but these elderly men and women were also very much involved in executing their self-created plans. All of the beneficiaries of the drinking water project and sanitary toilets participated in digging the tank or laying the pipe. For elderly people, it takes about 10 days to finish digging a small tank, and for a community that considers 60-year-old people “young,” that’s quite a feat!



Ms. Wang commented, “It was very hard work indeed. Now we don’t have to worry about fetching drinking water from the ditch down the hill”. They really put in all they had, and the project could not have been accomplished without them.

Thank you Ms. Wang for your hard work, and thanks to all our Episcopal partners and communities working together to implement these life-saving programs worldwide. 




Nagulan Nesiah is a Program Officer with Episcopal Relief & Development.       


Images: Top, Ms. Wang Ligin. Bottom, 

Photo Credit: Episcopal Relief & Development

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