The Importance of Water by Aditi Periyannan (E’22)

by jtijssen
Oct 11

Tufts University’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders joined many Tufts clubs, as well as Somerville and Medford community groups, at the 17th Annual Tufts Community Day on September 22nd, 2019. The event is a great way for local residents to connect with Tufts students so that they can learn more about what is happening on campus. Tufts Community Day also celebrated many local groups that are essential to the Somerville and Medford communities, including garden clubs, historical societies, and art centers.

Many Tufts organizations hosted crafts and activities for children to learn more about what they do. This year, Engineers Without Borders taught community members how to make their own simple water filters. Children poured gravel and sand into a perforated cup that served as their filter and then poured dirty and contaminated water through the filter into a cup on the other side. They repeated this process of pouring water through the filter, with each repetition making the water slightly clearer and the sand and gravel in the filter more densely packed. It was great to see so many children interested in the activity and asking questions about the water filtering process. Many of them took their filters home, excited to continue filtering their water and eventually getting it to a point where it is clear.

This process taught them about how long it typically takes to filter water and helped them better understand the experiences of children in areas without easy access to clean drinking water. Families also reflected on the importance of water in their lives and how their livelihoods would be affected if they had limited access to water or had to filter their own water to make it safe to drink. Parents who had grown up in countries with limited access to water used this opportunity to teach their children to be grateful for access to water and understand that not all children have that privilege.

Community Day was a wonderful opportunity for the Tufts chapter of Engineers Without Borders to increase awareness about global, clean water access. We also had the chance to talk to community members and children about the work we are doing to improve access to clean water in Malawi and Nicaragua by creating water filtration systems, distribution systems, and towers.