An Evanton man has undertaken a “brutal” challenge to raise funds to bring fresh water to a village in Nepal.
Ian Bent is walking 56km while carrying 20 litres of water to fundraise for his charity, The Bimiri Foundation (TBF).
The 37-year-old started his challenge in Bimiri on Friday November 19 and so far has travelled 33km.
He is carrying the water in a wicker basket on his head to show what the women and children in the village must endure daily to get fresh water.
“People are saying ‘why are you carrying this water, it’s crazy?’” he said. “I’m carrying this water so that hopefully by the end my friends won’t have to carry water ever again.”
Bimiri is around 1.5km away from the nearest water source. Girls as young as 10 make the journey several times a day, carrying up to 20 litres of water.
He explained: “Running water in your home is one of the most basic commodities you can have.
“We are fortunate enough to be born into a country where hot and cold running water is a standard and we take that for granted.
“The world is a very unfair place if you look at the benefits you have from being born in a certain country or a certain part of a country. Obviously, there are rich people in Nepal as well who also take it for granted they have a tap in their multi-story homes.
“The idea is to make that change.”
The Bimiri Foundation
After working in oil and gas in Aberdeen, Mr Bent decided to travel India and Nepal. He ended up making friends with the villagers of Bimiri.
He explained that TBF started as a rant on Facebook after being nominated for the ice-bucket challenge while he was visiting the village in 2018.
He realised that water in Bimiri was too precious to be wasted and instead asked his Facebook friends donate money towards installing a well.
As more donations came in, Mr Bent and his friends in the village decided that they could build a pipeline in the village.
They managed to build the pipelines last October and 18 taps were installed, meaning there is now running water flowing into the village.
However, he is now fundraising to build a filtration system so that the water can be drunk from the taps, rather than being taken home and boiled first.
At the time of writing, Mr Bent has raised £3,041 on his JustGiving page and has a target of £5,000.
He said: “It’s absolutely brutal. It’s rewarding because all day long I’m checking donations and money is coming in, like ‘yes, another £80’ and it speeds me up a little bit. But physically, this is the worst thing I have ever done.
“I don’t normally challenge myself physically at all, and you’re carrying it on your forehead, it’s not like a heavy backpack you’ve got all the weight on your head.”
Mr Bent, who works in IT support, described the challenge as “torturous” because it is hot and dusty. He has also met plenty of nice people along his travels.
He added: “I’m looking forward to finishing it and never lifting a basket like that again.”