A press release
India, Sept 24 (Canadian-Media): OVBI (Overseas Volunteers for A Better India) successfully raised over $400 thousand during its annual fundraising event on September 15th, thanks to the generosity of hundreds of attendees as well as companies including Verizon Media, whose CEO Guru Gowrappan, announced a donation of $25,000.
The event, held at the India Community Center in Milpitas, educated the attendees on the severity of the crisis, and shared OVBI’s success in tackling the problem in over a hundred villages across rural India. The funds raised will help OVBI with its goal to Eliminate Water Poverty in 500 villages by 2020.
Currently, 54% of India faces extremely high-water stress, with 255 districts identified by the Indian government as particularly severe. Women must walk miles to procure water, farmers live in deep financial distress, and major cities such as Chennai are running out of water. The UN has warned of civil unrest if urgent steps are not taken to address this problem.
Leading subject matter experts and executives including Raju Reddy, former CEO of Sierra Atlantic and Rathi Murthy, CTO of Gap shared their thoughts on how non-governmental organizations, such as OVBI, are making a significant impact on this critical issue. Raju Reddy spoke about how water ponds, which capture and store annual monsoon rains, are helping thousands of farmers ensure that their crops have enough water for the entire year. Rathi Murthy discussed corporate responsibility for sustainability, and how Gap is working to save over 10 billion liters of water by 2020.
Ash Kalra, 37th District Assembly representative attended the event and highlighted how water is a global issue. “Solving the water challenge in India can help solve the water crisis across the world”, said Representative Kalra. On behalf of the State of California, Representative Kalra recognized OVBI with an official commendation, for this work on water.
Over the last three years, OVBI has been working on a war footing to avert this national water crisis. In 2019, partnering closely with government bodies, ex-ISRO scientists, NGOs and local communities, OVBI will complete projects to eliminate water poverty in 105 drought-stricken villages across the Indian states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan. The interventions include construction of micro recharge structures, de-silting of water ways, and building check dams to allow water to percolate and refresh underground aquifers.
“Water is the defining challenge of this century. Solving this crisis can help address many issues including economic, gender, nutrition and educational challenges. Therefore, OVBI is focusing all its efforts to address water poverty in India”, says Mohan Trikha, Chairman of OVBI.
OVBI has engaged with local execution partners, ex-ISRO scientists, corporate donors, and effectively leverages government funds to significantly increase operational efficiency and impact. OVBI has been able to scale rapidly from one village in 2017 to now positively impact 105 villages in 2019, with an average investment of about $1500 per village of 2000 residents. These projects have created 1.6 billion gallons of additional water capacity and positively impacted over 160 thousand rural villagers.
“Our range of projects across four states, the diverse partnerships we have developed, the variety of interventions we have built and the generosity of our patrons, give us confidence that we can achieve our goal of eliminating water poverty in 500 villages by 2020.”, says Satej Chaudhary, President of OVBI.
“Our vision is to completely transform India from a state of Water Poverty to Water Plenty by 2030. You can eliminate water poverty in a village with a gift of $1500. We encourage civic minded citizens to adopt one or more villages, so we can reverse this vicious cycle”, says BV Jagadeesh, Co-Chairman, OVBI.
Overseas Volunteers for A Better India (OVBI) is a 501-(c)(3), IRS registered non-profit based in the United States with a mission to accelerate social impact projects in India. We are a non-political, non-religious and non-ethnic group managed and governed by Indian diaspora community leaders.