Kyrie Irving has gained much attention in the media for his basketball career, but his greatest accomplishment so far is off the court. In July 2021, the NBA All-Star funded and built a solar water well in Pakistan. The philanthropic effort by Irving intends to bring clean water to a town called Tharparkar in a lower socioeconomic area of Pakistan. Clean water and healthcare stand at the forefront of some of the issues in many areas with poverty. Many of the issues that plague small villages within Tharparkar are preventable and addressable. The poverty rate in Tharparkar stands at a staggering 87%. Not only is Irving providing clean water to Tharparkar but he is also bringing much-needed attention to other issues that afflict impoverished communities.

Bringing Clean Water to Tharparkar

The Brooklyn Nets Point Guard’s KAI Family Foundation funds the solar water project in Pakistan in partnership with the Paani Project. Irving built the solar water plant in the small village of Rohal in Tharpakar within the Sindh Province. Though the Sindh Province in Pakistan is experiencing an economic upturn in most urban areas, people often overlook the rural outskirts.

Tharparkar is one of the most impoverished areas of Pakistan, and thus, the people endure several issues of poverty. A lack of safe drinking water, high unemployment rates, food insecurity, poor health facilities, low educational attainment rates and malnutrition are among the issues plaguing Tharparkar. There are existing manual wells in Tharparkar, “but a lack of rainfall and inadequate maintenance” means existing wells “have either dried up or their contents are unsafe for human consumption.” Where a clean water supply does exist, villagers, mostly women, walk for more than an hour in conditions of extreme heat to access this water.

The Benefits of a Solar Well

Irving’s solar well will bring clean water to more than 1,000 villagers. Solar wells negate the need for ropes and pulleys commonly used in manual wells. Additionally, these solar wells can last up to 25 years. Current wells in Tharparkar almost exclusively necessitate the use of manual labor to pull the water up and livestock and agriculture pollute them. With only the turn of a lever, countless families will enjoy the benefits of clean drinking and bathing water.

Irving is not only bringing clean water to one of Pakistan’s most impoverished areas but is also bringing widespread attention to the other issues the area endures. Bringing attention to some of the issues sometimes forgotten in rural areas is important in order to improve overall living conditions in Tharparkar. These marginalized communities need aid to escape the cyclic effects of poverty. This philanthropic act by Irving is one that is garnering worldwide attention off the court rather than on it. Irving’s humanitarianism assists the many Pakistani families in poverty.

– Carter Haskel
Photo: Flickr