Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia

by Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia
Clean Water for 500 Families in Cambodia

Hel, a Cambodian man from a rural village, used to run with a disreputable crowd. Back then, he worked mostly in secret under the cover of night. But all that changed in 2014 when he attended a Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation health education and literacy (HEAL) training project with a bunch of his buddies.

When Hel was growing up, the school near his home only offered classes through sixth grade. Because of this, he never had the opportunity to attend high school. But the new information he suddenly learned about health and sanitation through the HEAL project felt exciting to him. He believed the new information was vital for the future welfare of his village, and it completely changed his perspective on life. He soon decided to earn his living in a completely different way and began working for local NGO’s to improve his own community and increase the level of child literacy.

After several years of steady service for his community, Hel is now 38 years old and serves his village as the Sunday pastor. No longer wanting to conceal his activities under cover of night, he now farms cassava during the day to support his wife and three children. It’s amazing to see how one educational opportunity can transform the trajectory of someone’s life for the better!

We’re thankful for Hel, his heart for service, and all that he’s doing to empower his own village community in Cambodia. And thank you for your generous giving which is helping communities thrive and equipping local people like Hel to solve local problems!

Read more stories about the impact of your giving here on our blog: cwef.org.hk

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This story was written by Kanhchana, Director CWEF Cambodia, with April Chiasson, Communications Manager.

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Maiy with Chantou and their son
Maiy with Chantou and their son

Maiy was stressed and worried. His family was "underwater."

As a new husband to his wife Chantou and adoptive father to her two sons, Maiy was feeling the weight of the family’s debt. They had taken out a microfinance loan to buy equipment for their family’s small farming operation, but now Maiy couldn’t even stay healthy enough to keep working every day in the fields in order to pay down the debt.

He and the rest of the family would frequently fall ill with diarrhea and painful stomach aches. At the time, they didn’t know the cause of their sickness: their daily habit of drinking the rainwater that they collected at their home in rural Tboung Khmum province, Cambodia.

With their frequent waterborne illness, the family’s medical expenses piled on top of their other daily expenses, which piled on top of their debt. Maiy couldn’t see a way out.

Then, through a connection with their local Christan church, Maiy and Chantou learned about a BioSand Water Filter project in their community, made possible by your generous gifts to CWEF.

They learned more about the water filters from their pastor, and they attended a training session where they learned about the dangers of drinking unsafe water, as well as different ways they could protect themselves and their kids.

Finally, they received the gift of a BioSand Water Filter in 2021. Since then, they have had the great blessing of drinking clean and safe water every day.

Maiy recently shared:

“Now, I feel relaxed and happy after getting our Biosand Water Filter from CWEF. We can filter either rainwater or well water for our family’s daily drinking needs. I also regularly bottle the water from the filter and take it with me to the fields when I go out to work.”

Maiy, Chantou, and their boys don’t get sick as often as they did before, and now Maiy has plenty of time and energy to do his farming work each day. He estimates that they will have the microfinance loan debt paid off in just 7 more months.

As a committed Christian and a member of their local church, Maiy and Chantou have also been led to participate as trained local advocates in the broader community health and development program called HEAL ("Health Education, Advocacy & Literacy"), which is sponsored by CWEF and facilitated in partnership with the local pastor, Sareun, and his wife, Ly. The team of HEAL advocates in their community have participated in a series of in-depth training sessions, and are committed to being agents of positive change in their area.  

Maiy and his family now want to do what they can to bless and serve others in their community, as they themselves have been blessed through the local church, in partnership with CWEF.

Maiy closed our conversation with this simple and selfless note of gratitude and hope:

“My family members all got healthier now, and I hope to see that God will use my family in the future to share the Gospel with others.”

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Maiy and Chantou participate in HEAL training
Maiy and Chantou participate in HEAL training
Maiy has some fun during HEAL training
Maiy has some fun during HEAL training
Chantou participates in HEAL training
Chantou participates in HEAL training
Chantou shares with the group during HEAL training
Chantou shares with the group during HEAL training
Kanhchana of CWEF leads a session at HEAL training
Kanhchana of CWEF leads a session at HEAL training

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The late spring and early summer was a challenging season in Cambodia, as an outbreak of new COVID-19 cases began to spread more widely around the country. This temporarily put many activities and all travel on hold. Thankfully, due to containment measures and an aggressive vaccination program, the daily numbers have diminished somewhat after the height of the outbreak in early July.

As you can imagine holistic community health has never been more important in the rural areas where CWEF and its partners serve, so we are extremely grateful for your increasing generosity to ensure that this important work can continue at this crucial time.

Your gifts help to power the HEAL program in Tboung Khmum province and southern Kratie province. HEAL provides a platform for encouraging sustainable long-term health improvements in people’s lives. HEAL project participants are treated as partners as they develop awareness and receive training to serve as community health advocates for their neighbors and family members. The HEAL program provides needed infrastructure, such as water filters and water wells, along with deeper health and hygiene education for the whole community.

We're thankful that in spite of the recent challenges in Cambodia, the CWEF team there was able to continue working with our local partner churches and trained community advocates in Tboung Khmum and Kratie to distribute materials and train 30 additional families for the construction and maintenance of their new Biosand Water Filter.

In addition, we also worked with a local contractor to dig 6 new water wells in the area, which will better serve the needs of these same 30 families. 

Finally, Kanhchana Thoy of CWEF was able to return to Tboung Khmum in mid-August to work with our local partners to facilitate HEAL TOT3 (Training of Trainers, Session #3) – in small groups due to government-mandated meeting restrictions -- with HEAL community health advocates there. For this work, our Cambodia team uses the mindsets and resources from the Global CHE (Community Health Evangelism) Network.

Next, the CWEF Cambodia team plans to work with our local partners in Tboung Khmum and Kratie to take water samples for testing to ensure safe water quality, while also following up with the families who recently received their new Biosand Water Filters to ensure they are using proper maintenance and cleaning procedures. Finally, the team will prepare to distribute materials and provide training to 40 additional families in the area who will be blessed with a new Biosand Water Filter (and a stronger, healthier life as a result) in late 2021 or early 2022. 

Thank you for making all of this possible with your generous prayers and giving!

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Volunteers in Tboung Khmum prepare BioSand Filters
Volunteers in Tboung Khmum prepare BioSand Filters
Volunteers in Tboung Khmum prepare BioSand Filters
Volunteers in Tboung Khmum prepare BioSand Filters
Volunteers in Tboung Khmum prepare BioSand Filters
Volunteers in Tboung Khmum prepare BioSand Filters
Volunteers in Tboung Khmum prepare BioSand Filters
Volunteers in Tboung Khmum prepare BioSand Filters
Happy and healthy with a new Biosand Filter
Happy and healthy with a new Biosand Filter
Mr. Heang tests out their new neighborhood well
Mr. Heang tests out their new neighborhood well
Mrs. Hun's family with their new neighborhood well
Mrs. Hun's family with their new neighborhood well
HEAL advocates in Tboung Khmum share ideas in TOT3
HEAL advocates in Tboung Khmum share ideas in TOT3

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Mrs. Hun's family
Mrs. Hun's family

In fall 2020, CWEF staff and local partners surveyed 50 families in several villages in Tboung Khmum province to assess their health needs. A request for water wells had been received, and research was done to assess the overall health situation, as well as other needs and opportunities in the area.

Mrs. Hun, her husband and 16-year-old son are one of the families being served by CWEF’s HEAL (Health Education, Advocacy & Literacy) project, which provides BioSand Water Filters in addition to community health education training.

Many families, like that of Mrs. Hun, face a myriad of challenges. Her husband of 28 years is disabled, adding difficulty for eking out a living in the countryside. Sadly, their son has also suffered from the after-effects of meningitis, which he contracted at the age of nine. Lack of clean water compounded the health problems for Mrs. Hun and her family.

The training seeks to provide both a growth mindset and an understanding of maintaining good health and sanitation. CWEF staff must find creative ways to provide the training to ensure understanding and encourage a change in behavior. In the case of this HEAL health education training, roughly a third of the participants are illiterate. The effectiveness of BioSand Water Filters and new water wells can only be sustained through health education and integration of new healthy habits.

CWEF projects provide a platform for encouraging sustainable change, aiming for long-term improvements in people’s lives. Project recipients are treated as partners as they receive awareness and training to enhance their livelihoods. Projects like HEAL provide both needed infrastructure, such as water filters and/or water wells, and deeper health and hygiene education for the whole community.

Gifts like yours, provide life-changing BioSand Water Filters to families like that of Mrs. Hun. Her husband and son will have an improved quality of life as they are spared from additional water-related illnesses. Daily life for Mrs. Hun is positively changed as her access to clean, reliable water is given through your generous support.

TOT (Training of Trainers) at Tboung Khmum
TOT (Training of Trainers) at Tboung Khmum
CWEF's Khanchana Thoy with local church partners
CWEF's Khanchana Thoy with local church partners
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CWEF team with new partners in Tboung Khmum
CWEF team with new partners in Tboung Khmum

Since 2011, CWEF has collaborated with local churches and government partners in Cambodia’s Kampong Thom province to improve health through holistic development projects. A pillar of CWEF’s work in Kampong Thom has been the Biosand Water Filter project supported by your generous gifts, which have provided local families with convenient access to clean and safe water in their homes, reducing the impact of water-borne illnesses. Additional work in this area over the past decade has included an Animal Gift project, which has provided sustainable income for 44 low-income families, along with eight new water wells in four villages.

“When a family receives a Biosand Filter, they also participate in health education training related to safe drinking water, how to use the Biosand Filter, and instructions related to installation and maintenance,” shares Kanhchana Thoy, CWEF Cambodia Health Programs Director. CWEF works in partnership with local pastors and village leaders throughout the length of the project, providing these remote communities with life-changing health provisions.

In total, 210 Biosand Water Filters have impacted a total of 1805 people in the Sandan and Chheu Tile communes, serving both families and primary schools. From time to time, the filters need to be renewed and repaired, and this project also restores broken Biosand Filters as needed. We are thankful to share that because your generous gifts, the most acute needs of this remote area have been provided for.

Now, our CWEF team in Cambodia is shifting its focus to a new area, again working closely with local church and village leaders. Tboung Khmum province is the location for a newly launched HEAL (“Health Education, Advocacy and Literacy”) project, which includes holistic health education and infrastructure like water wells and Biosand Water Filters.

This community development work will help the “large population of older women, who are taking care of their grandchildren and receiving remittances from their adult children (especially daughters) working in urban areas,” shares Kanhchana. In this area, the average income is between $3 and $4 a day. The health education program, coupled with reliable water wells and Biosand Water Filters, will help “communities live better lives by reducing sickness.”

CWEF anticipates a process of 3-5 years to implement a holistic approach as we equip local health advocates and local families in Tboung Khmum with training and infrastructure.

“This project will have a sustainable impact on many families in Tboung Khmum as we equip them with new knowledge and skills they can use to develop their own communities,” shares Kahnchana.

Thank you! Your support continues to help bring a life-changing renewal of health and hope to families in rural Cambodia.

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Visiting families in Tboung Khmum
Visiting families in Tboung Khmum
Visiting families at home in Tboung Khmum
Visiting families at home in Tboung Khmum
First TOT (Training of Trainers) at Tboung Khmum
First TOT (Training of Trainers) at Tboung Khmum
First TOT (Training of Trainers) at Tboung Khmum
First TOT (Training of Trainers) at Tboung Khmum
First TOT (Training of Trainers) at Tboung Khmum
First TOT (Training of Trainers) at Tboung Khmum
Expressing our gratitude to local partner Koy Thea
Expressing our gratitude to local partner Koy Thea

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Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation

Location: Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon - Hong Kong SAR
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Project Leader:
Joshua Lange
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon Hong Kong SAR
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