Hugh Bonneville has lived a life of luxury playing Robert Crawley in Downton Abbey, but he was surrounded by extreme poverty on his recent trip to India. The WaterAid ambassador recently visited the rural village of Narai Ka Pura, and has written in HELLO! about the strength of the villagers who remain positive even whilst faced with adversity.
Read the full account in this week's HELLO! magazine, on sale now in all good newsagents and available to download on iPad, android, kindle fire and more formats. Or subscribe today to make sure you don't miss an issue!
Hugh Bonneville visted India as WaterAid's ambassador
With 76 million people in India without access to clean water, Hugh wanted to see first hand the effects lack of sanitation has on the villagers' lives. He described his shock at seeing muddy, stagnant pools of water, often contaminated with human waste, that act as the village's water supply.
After visiting a primary school, he made friends with ten-year-old Pradeep, who showed him how to use the basic water pump at their disposal, which is only accessible after wading through contaminated water. He also explained that everyone is forced to go to the toilet in the local barley field.
"I tried to picture my son having to do the same, but couldn’t," Hugh wrote in HELLO! "These people deserve better."
The experience only reaffirmed to Hugh just how vital the work of WaterAid is. And, fortunately for Pradeep and his family, the charity have committed to working in the area. They will teach the villagers about hygiene practices, and give them the means to access government funding, which will allow for basic, life-changing facilities.
Hugh was shocked to hear how Pradeep and his family are forced to live
The 52-year-old was also given the chance to see just how the charity helps to improve lives, visiting the town of Mahadev Pura, which now has a safe hand-pump and hygiene awareness programmes.
Hugh wrote: "The village is living proof that simple alterations in water supply, hygiene and sanitation can bring lasting change... This snapshot of what WaterAid is doing for communities in India and in 29 other countries across the world has intensified my admiration for what this charity is all about."
SEE THE FULL ARTICLE IN HELLO! MAGAZINE, ISSUE 1405, OUT NOW