The fear of coronavirus infection has revealed the social scourge of stigma. Some health professionals and other groups that have been at the frontline with their work have suffered social rejection. This is an attitude that, beyond the pandemic, affects the poorest and most discriminated people, as is often the case in the world of access to water and sanitation. We must end this burden to attain the Sustainable Development Goals. Viruses, like water, know no borders, ethnicities or social classes.
Covid -19 has shot to pieces all aid programs against global childhood malnutrition. The situation of extreme vulnerability in which millions of children in the poorest regions have been left is a collateral emergency to that of the virus which has already turned into a terrible humanitarian crisis. The difficulty of access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation always goes hand in hand with abandoned and malnourished children. The international reaction has already started and aid projects are greatly increasing. Together we will succeed.
Endemic water-borne diseases kill more than 10,000 children in India each year. COVID-19 now threatens a health system that has proved powerless to cover the 1.3 billion inhabitants of the second most populated country on Earth. The lack of sanitation and hydric stress are factors that increase the risks of the pandemic.
Extreme heat and irregular monsoons are the worst threats for India. The adaptation to the global climate crisis is particularly urgent in the large Asian country, where the life of its population directly depends on the water cycle.
In India, the enormous challenge of achieving the sustainable growth of a country that in a few years will be the most populated in the world, should be based on avoiding the ruin of small farmers, empowering them to fight drought, the degradation of the land, single-crop farming and social imbalance. The construction of small self-managed reservoirs brings life to the most impoverished farmers and is a development model to be followed in semiarid regions.
Around fifty thousand women in Haiderpur will overcome the hygienic difficulties of menstruation, and many more have found work opportunities. Also more than 660 families in Bhiwadi can now avoid open defecation. Some testimonies of women benefitting from the projects of the Foundation in India show the importance of working for gender equality throughout the entire country.
Can the use of the bathroom cause a division in society? This is what cur-rently happens in most cities in India, where the domestic staff suffers the reminiscences of ancestral classism. #CleanYourHeart, a short film by the We Are Water Foundation, reflects a situation that hampers the socio-economic development of the country and sends a message of progress supported by the younger generations.
The winning of four iAgua Awards implies the recognition of the sector to the work of the Foundation and a motivation to move forward in the battle fought by mankind to achieve full access to water and sanitation. It is becoming increasingly urgent to raise awareness in society to create a common front against climate change, environmental degradation and poverty.
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