33 Buckets

33 Buckets is pictured above with the students of the school they assisted.

33 Buckets is pictured above with the students of the Rahima Hoque Girls’ School.

Empowering others to become self-reliant by improving access to clean water through sustainable design, business infrastructure, and education.

As recent as 2010, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported that up to 77 million people in Bangladesh have been exposed to contaminated drinking water, the equivalent of 1 in 4 people in the United States. A study conducted by The Lancet reports that 1 in 5 deaths in Bangladesh are attributed to arsenic poisoning, leading to what the World Health Organization calls the “largest mass poisoning in human history”. But these figures do not include the effects of the variety of surface water sources used by some families, which are often ridden with other water-borne diseases such as hepatitis and diarrhea. The Water Project, a non-profit organization, estimates that 60% of the population endures unsafe drinking water.

The Rahima Hoque Girls’ School, located in the town of Baher Char in rural Bangladesh, works to give women the education they need to pursue higher opportunities. Unfortunately, students must put their health at risk every day just to obtain an education. This unfair trade-off is a result of the school’s unsafe drinking water that is not only contaminated by arsenic but also contains disease-causing coliform bacteria and industrial pesticides that are spread all over the surrounding area by frequent flooding.

That’s where we come in. 33 Buckets will revolutionize the distribution of potable water in Bangladesh, by providing schools with the upfront capital required to install comprehensive water filters while simultaneously establishing sustainable microbusinesses that encourage local entrepreneurs to sell affordable, clean water in their communities. To kick-start our project, we are focusing our efforts on the Rahima Hoque Girls’ School in Baher Char, Bangladesh. Our pilot project will provide clean water to the girls who attend the Rahima Hoque School, and will also provide bulk packages of water to be sold to shop owners at a very low price. Revenue from water sales will cover the maintenance of the water filter and provide funding for the school, while creating an economic incentive for the distribution of clean water throughout the community.

We have already selected a 2000 L/hour-capacity filter that we plan to have installed at the school by summer 2013. By establishing partnerships and communication between students, administration, staff, and local entrepreneurs, we see an opportunity to improve access to clean water and economically empower members of the Baher Char community. With the proven success of our pilot, we will grow our model to improve the health and quality of life of people throughout Bangladesh and across the world.

Visit our website at www.33buckets.org.