Feb 20, 2018

How clean water can change lives

Peak and Lam
Peak and Lam

Water sources typically include open wells, ponds, and streams that are highly contaminated with pathogens such as E. coli. This reality requires families to endure waterborne diseases that are easily preventable. To address this issue, Trailblazer has been constructing and distributing bio-sand water filters since 2006. These filters can reliably remove up to 100% of worms and protozoa, 98.5% of bacteria, and 99% of viruses.

Peak lives together with her husband Lam, who lost his leg to a landmine while fighting against the Khmer Rouge in 1985. Also living with Peak, is her mother-in-law and four other family members from a younger generation.

As rice farmers with just a few years of education each, Peak and Lam work very hard to support their family. Before having a bio-sand filter they had to drink dirty water, which caused frequent stomachaches and poor health. In addition to pathogens, their water source also has high levels of iron, a common problem in Cambodia. Iron makes the water taste bad, stains laundry, can lead to health problems with long term exposure. Now, Peak’s family uses their filter at least two times every day to treat water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and doing laundry.

Peak says she is, “feeling very happy to have the filtered water because it tastes delicious and is better for the health of the family, especially the children.” They never buy water from the market anymore and they visit the local health center less often. With the money saved they can buy more nutritious food, especially fish and vegetables, to supplement the rice they grow. They also bought a battery and lamp to light their home at night, making it easier for children to study. Now that their family has safe drinking water, they are thinking about what else they want in the future including a solar panel and new mosquito nets.

Providing safe drinking water can lead to better health and reduced poverty for families like Peak’s. But for every story like Peak’s, there is another Cambodian family without access to safe water. For only $80 you can provide this necessity for one family. Together we can work toward every Cambodian family having safe water to drink, one family one filter at a time. A small price to pay for the life changing improvement for the family who receives a bio-sand water filter.

Feb 20, 2018

We are working our way to the goal!

Seyha and his family
Seyha and his family

Every day many children in Cambodia must walk long distances to get to school, meaning they arrive physically tired and mentally drained before class even starts. This situation is exacerbated in Siem Reap province because it is one of the poorest in Cambodia, where children typically walk to school. The reality is that walking long distances limits the students’ capability to succeed and disincentivizes school attendance. To address this problem, Trailblazer Foundation provides bicycles to students in Siem Reap Province, allowing for the students and their families to have more mobility and save valuable time.

When Seyha was 17 years old and a student in his eighth year of school, he received a bicycle from Trailblazer. He reports his studies and day-to-day life were greatly improved with the time gained from biking as opposed to walking to school. It used to take him thirty minutes to walk the 10 kilometers to school, and then it took him only five to ten minutes with his new bicycle. On the weekends, his parents borrowed the bicycle to get to and from the market to buy food for Seyha and his two younger brothers at a much faster pace than before!

His father finished his studies through grade eighth and his mother did not even go to school, so Seyha was excited to be able to attend high school and complete his studies, as he aspired to become a mathematics and chemistry teacher.  The school that Seyha attended, Chea Smun Secondary School, had only has six teachers for 176 students.  With Seyha finishing school and becoming a teacher, it greatly helped the Cambodian education system at large.

We are happy to report that Trailblazer was successful and recently received a grant for 50 bicycles. However, this grant brings us only half way to our goal of 100 bicycles for 2018. It is our hope that donors like you will help us get to the finish line with another 50 bicycles.

Students are counting on our and your help, and are waiting in line to receive a bicycle. These educational needs cannot be met to help keep students in school without the support of donors like you. Thank you for making our work possible, and helping these students reach their life goals.

Feb 15, 2018

The year is off to a great start!

Pull pump well
Pull pump well

Trailblazer Foundation encourages rural villagers to create self-sustaining programs by providing access to water for increased agricultural production and economic stability, and potable water for improved health and quality of life.

Complementing our efforts to provide clean water technologies to our village partners through water filters, is our effort to also provide abundant water via the drilling of new wells. In an ideal situation, Trailblazer provides each family who wants one with both a well and a water filter.  It is worth noting that wells also benefit our Food Security program, as families use the more easily accessed water for their agricultural pursuits.

One of our past beneficiaries, Kem and her husband Jom, had this to say about the well received from Trailblazer Foundation.  “Before we got the well, every day my husband went to the rice field far from home. He packed a meal and drank water from a local pond in the forest or rice field."  Kem stayed home cooking, taking care of the children and growing vegetables around the house using the water from the hand dug well.  She said, "My children and I got sick and had diarrhea often.  We had to spend a lot of money to buy medicine.  Now that we have the Trailblazer Foundation well, we have clean and clear water that we can use for drinking, cooking, washing dishes, bathing, and watering our vegetable garden.  It’s much easier now and I spend less time bringing water home, and I’m not afraid of my children falling in.”

Their only source of water prior to receiving a well from Trailblazer came from a hand dug well located about 50 meters from their house.  The water from the hand dug well was turbid and dirty, and the water level much lower in the dry season.  Sometimes animals would drink from the well and their dung would flow in.

Clean water means improved health for everyone involved, and less expenditures of the already scarce household income on medicines and clinic visits.  For many families who are counted among the poorest of the poor, health care is not an option, so access to clean water is that much more vital to ones health and well being.  Healthy children miss fewer days of school due to illness, and healthy parents are better able to work to provide income for their family.

To sum up, Trailblazer remains committed to helping families like Kem and Jom who tackle the challenges of unsafe water.  With crucial help from donors like you, more and more families will be able to have access to clean water to drink, bathe, wash clothes, and irrigate a home garden.

Our 2018 goal is to drill 80 more new wells, which will directly benefit 400 villagers (80 families with an average of 5 people per household).  As of today, we are off to a good start with donations that have been received for 10 wells, with a contract for another 17 wells on its way.  This means we are one-third of the way toward reaching our goal!

With your continued and generous support we expect to provide 400 more villagers with a well this year, so they too can realize the benefits of clean and abundant water.  Thank you.

child using well
child using well
 
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