Stories of Change

Hanh (right) and her friends wash their hands at school.

Clean water and clean latrines for Hanh and her mom

Our team met 5-year-old Mai Hanh during a recent visit to her preschool. Hanh and her mom live in a poor rural village about 135 miles northwest of Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi.

When we met Hanh, she had no idea what a toilet was. Where she lives, people still use fields, bushes and streams as their bathrooms. Many people Hanh has grown up around don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom or before eating, either.

This situation is all too common in many places in rural Vietnam, and across southeast Asia. That’s why CWS is teaming up with Hanh’s school, the Khuon Pong village kindergarten, to change this situation for young children.

When the school year started in September of 2018, something else started, too. CWS began supporting latrine and water supply improvements at the school. Since then, Hanh and her friends have had an exciting time experiencing modern latrines and clean water taps…and how these conveniences lead to better hygiene and, ultimately, better health.

Hanh’s mom, Tiep, was pleased to see these improvements going in at the school, in addition to a safe new school kitchen. Tiep was also grateful for the community information sessions and what she learned about proper sanitation and hygiene, including the importance of washing hands with clean water, for the sake of her daughter and her 100 schoolmates.

Since Tiep wanted to make the most of CWS help and learn as much as she could, she joined information sessions about biosand water filters and sanitary toilet models for homes. She has now signed up to build a latrine at her home and buy a biosand filter with help from CWS. Soon, Tiep and Hanh will have clean water to drink at home and a safe, clean place to relieve themselves. They are among the 170 families in Trung Ha Commune who are changing their lives for the better, thanks to CWS and our generous donors – and to their own determination and hard work!