Local Women Labor to End Flooding

The River Kosi in northeast India is also known as the “Sorrow of Bihar.” Its ever-shifting course floods badly every year during the monsoons, causing widespread suffering through disrupted lives and displaced communities.

The Community Health and Development Project (CHDP) of EHA’s Madhipura Christian Hospital has worked hard to help the surrounding villages cope with the flooding. They have been able to provide disaster preparedness training as well as relief. Bihar state is one of the poorest in India, with 63 percent of its people living in poverty, so the assistance of the CHDP is greatly needed.

One fishing community of 300 is positioned right on the riverbank. During the pandemic, the CHDP offered cash to villagers who would help shore up the banks. The sandbags kept the community safe during flood season. However, the embankment washed away within a year.

Undaunted, the CHDP team stepped in with a new plan, using special bags that would last ten to fifteen years. But this time, instead of paying workers, they challenged the women of the village to complete the project, explaining the benefits if they could prevent flooding long-term. The women decided to step up.

About 75 women worked together, hauling sandbags of 265 to 300 pounds! They labored for 3 months and also collected 25,000 rupees (about $300) to help pay for the sand. It took 5,500 bags to cover about 550 yards, but it worked. During the rains, the embankment held and the village was secure.

The CDHP staff were filled with joy to see the fruit of the women’s labor for the good of the village. For EHA hospitals like Madhipura, it’s not just about physical health—fixing broken bones and healing illness. It’s also about ministering to practical needs. They are committed to developing communities and helping villagers learn life skills that break the cycle of poverty and begin a new one of wholeness and well-being.