163 million people in India lack access to safe water as 70% of groundwater is contaminated. When engineer Kaylea Brase became sick of drinking tap water during a study stay in India, she decided to develop a portable and low-cost water purifier for underprivileged people. Together with the team of SHINE, SwissRe's program based on the BOOKBRIDGE Capability Program, Kaylea has founded "Pure Paani" (pure water) providing poor families with clean water and information on water-borne diseases and sustainable management of water resources.
Kaylea, how did your journey with BOOKBRIDGE start?
In 2016, I visited India as part of my environmental engineering studies. I loved experiencing the culture, learning the Hindi language, and meeting the people. But in the first month of living there, I became sick from drinking the water. I was able to purchase a water filter and afterwards I didn´t have any more stomach problems.
But as I visited many marginalized communities and slums where migrant workers were living, I realized that many of the low-income families could not afford water purifiers nor did they have the necessary piped water and electricity to operate the purifiers.
After I finished my studies in 2017, my colleague and I decided to return to India and start a social impact business to make water purifiers more accessible. To receive professional support, I applied for the SHINE program of SwissRe that has been strongly influenced by BOOKBRIDGE. The SHINE team helped me develop my business plan, while BOOKBRIDGE has provided me with a supportive community of entrepreneurs.
What change has BOOKBRIDGE brought to your life?
BOOKBRIDGE has provided a community that has encouraged me and given me ideas for how to increase my impact. I’m thankful for the connections that BOOKBRIDGE has brought me.
What change have you brought to your community?
Pure Paani has provided hundreds of families with pure drinking water, preventing water-borne diseases and enabling people to live healthier lives. We have also increased awareness about how water affects health, how to test water for contaminants, and how to sustainably manage water resources.
Our business idea is to make portable purifiers which do not require electricity or piped water. These purifiers use ultrafiltration membranes and infused silver to make them cost-effective without wasting water.
What vision do you have for your impact in the future?
Pure Paani’s vision is to provide health and wealth to low-income communities across worldwide networks and systems through portable water purification:
What does this vision mean for your social enterprise? What capabilities does it need? What do you plan to offer?
In order to achieve our vision, Pure Paani needs to develop marketing and customer acquisition skills, as well as build the size and strength of the team. Pure Paani plans to offer many different portable water purification products that address a wide range of contaminants in the water. We also plan to provide water consulting services which include water testing, surveying, project management, implementation, and impact analysis.
What does this vision mean for yourself? Where do you need to develop yourself to be ready?
I need to work on our business strategy and to develop my marketing and customer acquisition skills. I also need to learn more about product design. In order to communicate well with customers I have to continue to practice my Hindi language learning.
Thank you Kaylea for sharing your experience and your learnings with us. We are proud that you are part of our BOOKBRIDGE Family!