Aabid Surti started the Drop Dead Foundation in 2007. He, along with his team, has visited 2,000 houses to date to fix leaking taps for free.
Let’s admit it – many of us ignore leaky taps – dripping one drop of water at a time – until they become an issue that cannot be ignored anymore. Like they say, each drop adds up, and here’s the math – can result in over 1300 litres of water wasted a year.
In a world that is running out of fresh water, this is a big deal, and 84-year-old Aabid Surti has taken it upon himself to fix it.
Founder of the Mumbai-based NGO Drop Dead Foundation, Aabid has been going from door to door for the past 12 years, fixing leaking taps. The foundation’s website says, ‘Save every drop or drop dead!’, which explains the name of the organisation!
Aabid is accompanied by a plumber and a female volunteer from the NGO. Since he started this initiative in 2007, Aabid and his team have covered 2,000 homes and saved over 20 million litres of water.
Speaking to news channel NDTV, Aabid said:
“Every week we target a building and go meet the secretary and explain our purpose. We then put up posters the notice board. On Saturday, we give out pamphlets with our details and finally, on Sunday, we start from the top floor, knocking every door, fixing faucets.”
Aabid also puts in efforts to explain to people the importance of saving water using posters and pictures. The Free Press Journal said one of the posters made by Aabid represented Mohammed Prophet asking people to save water.
Another showcased Lord Ganesha saying,
“If you waste water, where will you immerse me, reports The Free Press Journal.
Aabid has also participated in the popular game show Kaun Banega Crorepati hosted by actor Amitabh Bachchan to spread awareness about water conservation.
However, the ride has been anything but easy. Aabid says initially people weren’t supportive and it took them a while to realise the importance of water. Fixing taps free of charge meant Aabid had to bear the expenses from his own pocket – which added up to nearly Rs 5000 a month, which he could not really afford.
“I thought I’ll have to pay Rs 200 to the plumber, and a washer costs Rs 2 per piece, so it won’t burn a hole in my pocket. But doing it on a regular basis involves a huge investment. Also, I have to pay my fare and take care of refreshments for my team. The estimate of weekly expense came to Rs 1,000, which meant Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 a month,” Aabid said to NDTV.
Being a well-known author, Aabid was awarded Rs 1 lakh by the Hindi Sansthan of Uttar Pradesh for his contribution to Hindi Literature, which he used to fund his initiative. All awards and prize money he received was used for his initiative.
“Every time I needed money to keep Drop Dead Foundation running, God helped me. Actor Amitabh Bachchan gave me Rs 11 lakh, the Maharashtra Government that helped me with Rs 50,000 in the form of prize money, and a plumber worked with me for free,” NDTV quoted Aabid as saying.