Mr. Surendar Thakur lives with his family in the Harkawa village of Kamrauli Gram Panchayat (Sheohar, India). He worked as a daily-wage laborer and continuously struggled to make ends meet for his family. Without any training, he sometimes assisted in the repair of hand pumps in the village so that he could earn enough money for his family’s needs.

When he first heard about One Drop and Water For People searching for volunteers to work as Jalabandhu (“pump plumber”), he immediately applied. He and his family were thrilled when he was selected for a training in 2013. He was also given basic tools for initiating hand pump repairing work.

It was not an easy path, but One Drop and Water For hosted regular meetings for Mr. Thakur and many other Jalabandhus across Sheohar to track the progress levels of each trainee, discuss ways to spread their business, provide an update on the previously done work, share troubleshooting tips for unexpected challenges and possible mitigation for recurrent maintenance issues.

The skills training greatly strengthened Mr. Thakur’s mastery of a wide range of repairs and maintenance, which boosted the confidence he had been lacking. The trainings also better connected him with other Jalabandhus and to expert trainers, alleviating his sense of isolation and frustration.

These days, Mr. Thakur is one of the most successful Jalabandhus in Sheohar. He has not limited himself to repair and maintenance of tube well repairing. He executes 8-10 drilling works every month in different communities in Sheohar, repairs around 40 to 50 hand pumps every month in Kamrauli, and he spreads awareness on the importance of safe water among the communities.

Currently, his monthly income is around Rs.12,000-15,000. Today, Mr. Thakur is not only financially stable but also on the way to ensure that he is able to take care of the needs of his family, including the education of his children and the marriage of his eldest daughter.