Sustainability and Community-based projects

Empowerment not assistance

For us, success is sustainability.

Enabling sustainability is threefold:

  1. Listening to and being led by the community.
    The role of United for Hope is to be the facilitator. We work alongside community leaders to enable transparent decision-making that drives social and economic transformation. Only when the villagers own the direction of their own development will we be able to make a real difference.
  2. Working with the environment.
    Working in tandem with abundant natural energy, agricultural, building and health resources is how we will deliver maximum benefits to the community with minimum impact on the environment.
  3. Being inclusive
    We will enable fully inclusive community living that embraces the most vulnerable by facilitating a self-written community charter. This charter will give everyone in the community a clear direction on the kind of ethical conduct that creates fair and harmonious community living, with particular emphasis on empowering women and children. We will create managed and sustainable community refuges for those in society who require communal care and support.

Water is Life

Imagine not having clean water on tap.
How far would you go to get it?
Imagine not having access to a simple thing like a toilet.
Where would you go?

In India, only 14% of the rural population has access to a toilet.
Most water sources are contaminated by sewage and agricultural run-off.

India’s already huge and rapidly growing population puts a severe strain on an inadequate infrastructure and contaminates valuable natural resources.
India has made progress in supplying safe water but coverage varies widely across the country.
And while access to drinking water has improved, the World Bank estimates that 21% of communicable diseases in India are related to unsafe water.
Hygiene practices continue to be a problem in India.
Low rates of hand washing also increase the spread of disease.
In India, diarrhoea alone causes more than 1,600 deaths EVERY DAY.


The village of Tirmasahun is located in eastern Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state. The population of 2,500 people live primarily from agriculture and survive on under 2€ per day.

United for Hope ‘s Sanitation Challenge

United for Hope is on a mission to make Tirmasahun an open defecation-free (ODF) zone. We work alongside local leaders to ensure transparent decision-making and community led solutions.


As of May 2016, United for Hope has lowered the open defecation rate in the village from 87% to under 50%. Moreover a village drainage system to carry off wastewater has been built, eliminating stagnant pools of water from outside the homes.

Clean Water Project

While most people have access to a hand pump, the water is polluted. Many people don’t understand the importance of drinking clean water to prevent serious illness.

United for Hope has dug a 120ft deep well and installed a water purification system. In June 2015, we launched our ‘clean drinking-water project’, which consists of a water kiosk and a door-to-door delivery distribution model. The water can be purchased at a low price (10Rupees/20l) making it affordable even for the poorest members of the community. Through this system, safe drinking water is delivered to the villagers and local employment is created.

Education, Education, Education.

Constructing toilets is just half the sanitation battle - the other, more crucial half includes building awareness on how to use, maintain and clean the toilets. United for Hope has and will continue to conduct awareness campaigns to ensure that our toilets are properly used and maintained by their owners.

United for Hope provides WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) workshops for all villagers and training individuals in the importance of practicing good hygiene practices, such as washing hands with soap. We also use posters and wall paintings to increase general awareness around these messages.

Furthermore, we actively work with local schools to instil this message and incorporate daily routines around proper toilet use, handwashing, cleanliness & social responsibility.


A Clean Energy Revolution

India produces around 10% less energy than it consumes.

Plus, this energy is unevenly distributed, meaning most areas must go without power at certain times. In middle class Delhi, for example, this may be 2-3 hours a day in the hot season, in poorer areas this may be for up to 10 hours per day and, in rural areas, this can be up to 20 hours a day.

And that’s in the areas that are lucky enough to be on the grid.

As most people live in rural areas, that means that 70% of the population have up to 4 hours of electricity each day. Rural India has learned to live with the daylight, waking up early and going to bed soon after sunset.

When they need light, they rely on unreliable sources such as the national grid, candles or kerosene lamps which can all cause health problems and are polluting.



The village of Tirmasahun is located in eastern Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state. The population of 2,500 people live primarily from agriculture and survive on under 2€ per day.

60% of the village has no access to electricity.

Families rely on kerosene for light. Kerosene is both expensive and dangerous. The fumes can cause serious health issues.

Those who do have electricity receive only up to 5 hours each day and blackouts are commonplace.

And there is also a problem of electricity theft. Those who steal it from the national gird cause system failures and damages that mean blackouts for everyone.

Seeing the Light.

United for Hope began by providing solar street lighting that helps Tirmasahun to be a safer and cleaner place.

We have also financed domestic solar lamps for households with limited or no electricity, up to 70% of the cost and at the same time we are exploring options for village-wide renewable energy options.

And to ensure the lamps work better for longer, we provide training in maintenance and repair.

Clean Energy Project

We are at the starting point of a new project that will bring socially priced solar energy to the villagers of Tirmasahun and beyond. Last November, together with engineers from a prestigious US Foundation, we carried out a number of surveys in Tirmasahun and neighbouring villages to ascertain the interest in becoming customers for portable solar batteries kits which would allow residents to have reliable access to light and charging capabilities.

United for Hope will be publically announcing the partnership with the US Foundation soon.



Education is empowerment

More than half of fifth grade students in India can’t read a second grade textbook or solve a simple mathematical problem.

While the number of students attending rural schools in India is rising, quality and access to education is still a major concern.

There are few qualified and committed teachers and a lack of good resources.

Schools can also be a long way from a student’s home and the number of boys in education outstrips girls.


The village of Tirmasahun is located in eastern Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state. The population of 2,500 people live primarily from agriculture and survive on under 2€ per day.

The children of Tirmasahun village attend two (primary) schools. One is in the centre of the village and has been built using the funds provided by a retired teacher. It consists of four bare rooms and with the exception of a blackboard there are no facilities. The building is unprotected, has no doors, no toilets (prior to our work) and no electricity. There is no government funding. Around 150 children attend this school.

The second school is a government school. Books and a midday meal are provided, however the facilities are very rudimentary and the level of education very low. 200 children attend this school.

Around 60 children in the village do not attend school at all. Only 10% of children are in secondary education.

United for Hope undertook some building and improvement work. Our project began with building toilets for the village government school as well as plastering and painting the classrooms of the second school so that they can be used to hang learning resources.

The Community Center

It soon became clear to us that the problems are many and complex and exist far beyond building improvements. After considerable thought, we have decided to build a community center for the village which will focus on both child and adult education programs such as:

  • * After school tuition program
  • * English & computer lessons for children
  • * Women’s health, hygiene & empowerment classes
  • * Drop in centre for government related issues and programs
  • * Meeting point (for topics relating to community development)
  • * Teacher training programs
  • * Various adult trainings (literacy and vocational)

Community Center

The community center is gradually taking shape and phase one of the project has been completed. The building now includes two spacious classrooms, a toilet and a shower area. Furthermore, electricity together with clean water is now available on site.

United for Hope is now preparing for the second construction phase, which will be soon implemented and includes a computer lab, citizen’s advice office as well as a small kitchen and reception area.

Pilot Education Program

Last February we started our pilot education program at the community center with a selected group of ten local children. We are working with five girls and five boys between the ages of 10-12.
The classes consist of both school subjects and good citizenship topics and the children have strict routines around hygiene, cleanliness, respectful behaviour and responsibility.
We are excited to take this first step in the area of education in our new classrooms and are confident it will be the fist of many innovative and reframing educational programs.

Community Center

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