Southern Water employee Mike Tomlinson will journey to India next month with international development charity WaterAid.
Mike, from Sittingbourne, has been involved with WaterAid for more than 20 years – ever since he started working for Southern Water, where he is now a Project Manager.
For the past ten years, the 55-year-old has been the charity’s Southern Regional Representative helping to organise fundraising activities and promoting the charity’s efforts in presentations to schools and community groups.
In 2007, Mike received the WaterAid President’s Award for his services to the charity.
The trip to India, with representatives of several other water companies, will take Mike to the Madhya Pradesh region of the country. Mike will meet with communities to find out what life is like without safe water and sanitation and visit WaterAid projects in both urban slums and rural villages to see how the money raised by Southern Water employees is making a difference.
It will be the second time Mike has seen WaterAid’s work abroad. In 1997 he visited Uganda with the charity.
He said: “That first trip had a profound effect on me and I have continued to support the charity ever since. Even though it was 16 years ago, it feels like it was yesterday.
“I was able to see first-hand the benefit WaterAid’s work was having and it will be interesting to see that in India, although I know that emotionally it will be quite challenging. It’s easy for us here to take clean water for granted, but when you learn that, around the world, there are 2,000 children dying every day simply because they lack safe water and sanitation, it makes you think again.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the positive effect the charity is having on those communities and hearing the stories the people will tell me about how it has changed their lives.”
Trip leader, Isabelle Herszenhorn, from WaterAid, said: “The money raised by Southern Water fundraisers like Mike, helps WaterAid change the lives of some of the world’s poorest people, bringing safe water, sanitation and hygiene education. This is a great opportunity for him to see first-hand how hard work and generosity here has made a real difference to communities in India.
To find out more, visit www.wateraid.org.