A PERSONAL pilgrimage to her family village in India last year became a turning point for Durban resident Margaret Barbeau (80), who is now on a mission to help her ancestral village have safer and easier access to water.
Last year, Barbeau and her daughter Claudette Pop and granddaughter Falana de Villiers spent one week in the village of Thiruvanamalai, a three-hour drive from the city of Chennai in India. Barbeau had traced her biological roots via the archives in central Durban.
“I had longed to know the location of my family’s home in India and was happy to be able to visit my village last year with my granddaughter and daughter. This visit helped me see the need for a safe method of access to water in the village. At the moment, the people in the village have to walk long distances and carry buckets of water to use in their houses. We thought we had enough money at the time to install the well but upon investigation, we found out that we needed to dig a bit deeper and install a borehole well instead of a hand pump. Unfortunately, we did not have the funds to cover the cost and had to go back to the drawing board,” said Barbeau.
The total cost of the borehole would be around R35 000. To date, Barbeau and De Villiers have raised R23 000. “We leave for India again in March and are determined to be able to finance the borehole by then. This means we need to raise R12 000. In a last push to raise the balance of the funds we’re hosting a dance on February 2,” said De Villiers.
The fundraiser dance will take place at St John’s Hall, Sydenham, and features DJ Craigy G from Durbantainment. Tickets are R80 at the door or book via 073 170 7671.
“While we’re getting water to the village in India, we would also like to do something to help families in Cape Town in their time of severe drought. So we’re asking patrons who attend the dance to please bring along a five-litre container of water. Gift of the Givers will collect these and transport them to Cape Town to assist the affected areas. Western Cape is soon at Day Zero so we want to use the opportunity to help out and provide relief ASAP,” added De Villiers.
If you’re not able to attend the dance and would like to make a financial contribution to this cause, banking details are: Falana de Villiers, Nedbank savings account, account number 2955061379, reference: WATER (and your name). A huge vote of thanks to all friends and family that have already contributed!
The family is also asking the public to please spread the word via social media: #BringWater