A typical village scene with students playing in the flood water.
Water in the village where Helping Hands Cambodia works is sourced for the majority of families from a well or water pump. Whilst this can supply a good amount year-round, there is nothing done to filter out harmful bacteria and parasites. People in the village are faced with a difficult choice – to drink the local water and risk falling sick (Cambodia has an estimated 9 million diarrhea cases per year for its 14 million residents) or drink as little as possible, staying dehydrated. Many chose the later. The results of daily, long-term dehydration are multiple. Mothers struggle to breastfeed, our kindergarten kids get poor digestion and painful tummies because they’re not drinking enough. Elders in the village frequently complain of headaches and tiredness, two classic signs of long-term dehydration. In all of Cambodia there’s still an estimated 66% of people without access to clean drinking water – this is not unique to Prasat Chas, the village where Helping Hands works, but in this village, through the school we run, we can make a positive difference.
This is the type of bio-sand filter that Helping Hands is aiming for. One costs $80, to service our school site we’ll need 2.
On site we have been using a traditional method of water purification. Water from our well is poured by students every morning into one of 12 clay pots that are sited around the school. These pots slowly filter the dirty water with the clay absorbing any negative elements, leaving the students with clean drinking water in the plastic bucket below.
A student on site drinks water from our ceramic filters. These filters are in need of an upgrade.
These clay pots have worked hard for our site for several years now and unfortunately they no longer perform at their best. Despite cleaning them frequently we’ve found that their filtration speed is slowing down and the lever of purity is dropping as the clay has aged. It’s time to upgrade! We need a new water system.
A partner project in Siem Reap, Trailblazer, has had huge success making sustainable bio-sand water filters in Cambodia for 10 years now. Their simple sand and gravel system effectively filters out 99% of bacteria and pathogens. It filters water very quickly, meaning that we’ll have a better supply for all our students on site as currently we run out of clean, filtered water during peak times. We want to guarantee our students a ready supply of clean, safe drinking water all day long, ensuring that they stay healthy and hydrated, strengthened to reach their potential with the education that we provide.
The Trailblazer team drilling down to make us a well on our school site. Now we need the second stage – biosand filters – to ensure clean drinking water.
80$ will buy one bio-sand water filter for the school site. This will supply up to 150 children with clean, safe drinking water for up to ten years. With a school of nearly 300 students we need two filters, and 2 generous donors to support this. Are you able to be one of them? If you’d like to become a donor your name / sponsorship logo will be placed on the filter as a thank you. It’s simple to donate either through Virgin Money Giving or through Paypal, or visit our website for more information.