Stories of Change

Marn Sak with her new water storage container.

It’s never late to start healthy practices

You may have heard the statistic that 785 million people in our world don’t have convenient access to safe water (source). But have you thought about what that really means for those families? What toll does that take on their daily life?

Marn Sak is one of the 785 million. She is 79 and lives with three generations of her family in a small house in rural Cambodia that doesn’t have running water. Sak says that her family usually gets their water from a local pond and a canal.

Ponds and canals are unprotected and unsafe water sources. They can be contaminated by leaves, bugs or runoff. And yet, families like Sak’s often rely on them as their only source of water. Sak says that her family members often have diarrhea or other illness that come from drinking dirty water. They spend a lot of their money on medicine. Sometimes they have to stay home from work or school to get better, which results in a loss of income. For families where every dollar makes a big difference, this is a serious problem.

Our team in Cambodia is working with a local partner, the Association for Development and Our Villagers’ Rights, to help more families in the area access safe water. We reached out to 20 especially poor families in Sak’s village and invited them to an information session about clean water. The participants learned how to keep their water safe and clean, and asked lots of good questions. Each family went home with a ceramic water filter and a 5-gallon plastic storage container (with a lid to protect the water).

Sak joined the gathering for her family. As she was leaving, she told us that she was anticipating a positive change in her family’s health and habits. She felt like she understood the importance of having clean, safe water better–and she had the tools to make a change for her family. “I am very happy for this support,” she said. “The new information about why clean and safe water is important is welcome!”

Our team and partners are especially happy that CWS supporters have made it possible to provide the supplies–quality filters and water storage containers–as well as education so families can benefit immediately from their new knowledge.