Som Thon and her husband, Thoo Thee, have a lot to worry about, not unlike most parents with five children to raise. They live in Karasaing Pnov in Pursat Province, Cambodia. Six years ago, Som Thon packed up her family and moved them across the province to find work. Each morning the family wakes at dawn to begin their day. They feed their small son a bottle and dress their young children for a day of work.
Thoo Thee cuts wood in the jungle with their eldest son for a daily wage. He lost his job when the global COVID-19 pandemic began. Som Thon and her eldest daughter trek into the jungle each day searching for wild leaves, roots or mushrooms to cook for dinner. Sometimes, if they do well, Som Thon will find more than she needs and can sell any extra at the market.
None of Som Thon’s children have ever attended school. While there is a primary school in the area, the family cannot afford the fees. Even if they could, the road that leads there is muddy and hard to travel. Of the 86 students who enroll each year, only 50% will continue to the end of the school year.
During the dry season, Som Thon and her five children will trek hours daily to a small creek for water. They are not alone though. Each day, they will join women and children who live in the 1,000 person community. Some mothers collect water for their children who are at home sick with pervasive, yet preventable illnesses like malaria, typhoid, dengue fever or dysentery.
Som Thon collects water to cook for her children, likely cassava, rice, and what she has scavenged that day. It's a long walk home carrying water and a baby. There is some relief during the rainy season when the rice fields flood and Som Thon can collect water from the sunken farmland instead of trekking to the creek.
A hand-pump well in their community would change everything. It will give her safe, clean, reliable and accessible water. It would free up time for Som Thon to earn an income and pay for her children’s schooling. The process of building a water system can train an entire work force in Karasaing Pnov on how to coordinate to build other infrastructure, like a better road to get to the Primary School.
Just $100 is all it takes to change the life of one person through clean water. You can change Som Thon’s life today.