Published: 18th May 2020
A housewife from Karnataka has helped provide clean drinking water to over 600 localities in the state
Chinnmaye Praveen set up GeWinn Wachstum to help those who had no access to clean drinking water in different parts of Karnataka by setting up water ATMs in public spaces
There sits a 10-year-old water ATM in Srirampura, a slum in Karnataka. Although its edges are slightly rusted and it makes a few surprising sounds in the process, it gives you a perfect 25-litre of clean water. And for the residents, it has been a life-changing addition to the world around them. This is all thanks to Chinnmaye Praveen, a homemaker who decided to do a little extra for the underprivileged masses in her state who did not even have access to clean drinking water. She set up the social entrepreneurship organisation, GeWinn Wachstum (which means 'to grow greatly' in German) to serve this exact purpose in 2010.
"We had come up with a plan on how we could help people and charted a module with which we could move forward," says Chinnmaye. "We sent the module to government officials at the time but they were not willing to help us out financially. So I scraped together the resources from what my husband and I had." This was how they installed the first water ATM in Srirampura. In no time, the public responded with great appreciation to the kiosk and the government authorities agreed to support them.
GeWinn Wachstum works by drawing groundwater from places where it is readily available. In places where it is difficult to set up or is not available at all, they set up filtration plants with the help of a manufacturer in Pune that they have tied up with. The kiosks are set up in public spaces and people can pay Rupees 5 to get a 25-litre bottle of water. Currently, they have set it up in over 600 places across 14 districts in Karnataka. In certain religious places and public schools, the ATMs are set up for free.
Chinnmayee explains that people have responded to the initiative with great love and warmth. She says, "Their whole lifestyles has changed because of the access to clean mineral water. Earlier, even if they could manage to afford it, they would only buy it for their children. But now they use it for drinking and cooking food in their homes. They have expressed that this has shown in their improved health as well. Water is such a basic resource, having access to it can change so much for people."