According to a survey conducted in 2007 by the World Bank, between 39% and 60% of rural Cambodians have access to clean drinking water (1). Many in the communities we work with, however, still lack access. Others claim to drink clean water, but it would be considered contaminated by international health standards. Bridge of Life School is addressing the issue with an approach that focuses on awareness and the importance of using clean water to improve overall health.
|Example of Contaminated Water Source||Student Demonstration in front of New Well|
In 2009 we began by meeting with the commune chief and asking him where wells were most needed. The first well was constructed adjacent to the school, allowing students to wash their hands and drink clean water, which passes through a ceramic filter, eliminating any bacteria or pathogens. The students are now able to use it whenever they wish, and they are encouraged to wash their hands with soap prior to attending class. Students also spend some of their class time every month learning about hygiene related issues.
|One of the Families who Received a Well||Tour and Sopheap Teach a Hygiene Class|
Between 2009 and 2012 we built ten wells throughout Kon Deng in Banteay Srey as well as three wells in Kompong Thom. Overtime, however, we realized we were not in a position to continue to build wells. They are expensive and we felt the money might be better spent on Khmer staff salaries and educational programs. We have reached out to larger NGO’s to build still needed wells, and instead refocused on awareness issues, going door-to-door passing out pamphlets on the importance of water filters and conducting classes for parents on their use and proper maintenance.
|A Resident Enjoys Purified Water from Filter||Students Pose in front of 100 New Filters|
While we have stopped building wells, we do see value in clean water filters and training programs. In 2011 we hosted a large group of volunteers. They were interested in the clean water program and agreed to donate 110 ceramic filters to residents. Several trainings were held and filters were distributed to participants. We continue to run this program based on funding and in 2017 are planning to focus our efforts in Komopng Khleang, a floating village where we operate our kindergarten, that does not have access to wells and struggles with water related health issues (parasites and worms).
If you are interested in donating filters, please contact us for more information. They costs approximately $11 dollars depending on the purchase amount and, with proper maintenance, can last several years.