Cambodia’s more current census has an estimated population of 16.25 million, with 50% of the population under 22 years old.Only 75% of the country has improved access to drinking water, and only 42% of the population has access to improved sanitation facilities as well. Although these numbers show a promise that the country is developing, there is still work to be done until 100% of the country has potable water and latrines.
High incidences of diarrheal diseases alone account for one fifth of the deaths of children age five and under in Cambodia, and an estimated 10,000 overall deaths annually, largely owing to lack of sanitation and poor hygiene practices. Less than 1 in 3 Cambodians have access to latrines and hand washing facilities, one of the lowest rates in Southeast Asia. According to the World Health Organization diarrhea continues to be the second leading cause of death among children in East Asia. Creating clean environments for children averts threats to their health and supports the best chance at a prosperous life.
Nearly 70% of Cambodia’s rural population – roughly 6.4 million people – still practice open defecation as their principle sanitation option. Findings from a 2010 National Sanitation and Hygiene Survey show that only 31.8% of Cambodians use latrines, only 16.7% of Cambodians have a fixed hand washing place in their homes and only 62% of respondents reported practicing hand washing. Yet, the use of a toilet can decrease diarrheal deaths by 30% and hand washing with soap by more than 40%.
This makes Trailblazer’s work all the more important and impactful. As of the end of September, 2018, to address these serious health issues,Trailblazer has:
As we draw near to the end of 2018, I hope you will take a moment to consider what difference it is you wish to continue to make in the lives of rural Cambodians. Your investment allows for you to be part of something bigger to help the world, and is truly making an impact. Donors like you are the backbone of the organization. We could not accomplish this vital work without your support.
We can’t express enough how much your continued investments have meant to us, and to the recipients whose lives have been changed for the better.
With our deepest gratitude.
Water-borne diseases are the greatest health threat in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province. In Cambodia, a country of fifteen million people, there are more than nine million cases of diarrheal disease annually, estimated to cost the nation about $448 million a year. These diseases are most easily combatted by providing access to clean water.
For Trailblazer Foundation, providing access to clean water includes both digging wells to access water, and constructing and delivering bio-sand water filters to purify both surface water and well water (the latter of which is cleaner than surface water, but still not always safe to drink).
Constructing and delivering our bio-sand water filters to villagers is Trailblazer Foundation’s first priority, in terms of the services and products we provide. We distribute more water filters than wells, because most families already have access to some sort of surface water, although the water is typically not healthy for human consumption. This explains why water filters are the product or service most requested by the villages, through the local needs assessment process.
Given that one family each uses a water filter, with an average of 5 people per family, Trailblazer has benefitted 965 people so far this year by installing 193 bio-sand water filters.
Trailblazer is very grateful and proud of raising money because people are inspired to give for products and services which support the important work done in Cambodia. Our passion for improving health conditions and reducing poverty for our rural village partners cannot happen without your help.
You have the power to be an agent of healing and hope for rural villagers. Every gift counts. I want to thank all our donors for their continued support. Your contributions are making a difference and transforming the lives of people in rural Cambodia every year.
Thank you for bringing clean water and hope of a better life to rural families in Siem Reap province.
In 2014, the U.N. General assembly declared water a human right, “meaning every person should have access to safe water and basic sanitation”(WHO). According to UNICEF, diarrhea is second leading cause of death for children under the age of five in Cambodia, while vitamin and mineral deficiencies due to diarrhea results in an annual loss of US$146 million to Cambodia’s GDP. Access to clean water allows for improved sanitation and overall health, enabling communities to prosper and grow.
Trailblazer Foundation has been partnering with Cambodian villages in the Siem Reap province to provide families with bio-sand water filters to improve the sanitation and health of the area. With access to reliable clean water on their property, families no longer have to experience the burden of illness due to unclean water, experience shortages, or have to walk far to collect water.
For Jomreoun, a 27 year old woman living in a small village in the Pouk district of Siem Reap province, access to water is essential to her well being and that of her husband, and their 2 year old child. Like Jomreoun, 12.3 million others in Cambodia do not have access to a piped water supply. This makes up 70% of Cambodia’s total population. (World Bank 2015). Instead, Jomreoun’s water came from her father’s house where she would have to walk everyday to collect. She described this water as dirty, it caused her family sickness, requiring them to spend money on medical expenses. Sometimes they experienced shortages of water, which she said wasted time and energy, and increased their health problems.
Jomreoun and her family received a bio-sand water filter from the Trailblazer Foundation in 2017, and since, her life has changed drastically. Before the bio-sand filter, Jomreoun was tired of hauling water everyday, and the shortages disrupted her life. Now with a bio-sand water filter on her own property, Jomreoun has access to water she describes as clean and good tasting. Her family’s health has improved greatly and they no longer have to spend money on medicine. Jomreoun can use this clean water to drink, cook, and bathe her child without worry.
Reliable and safe access to drinking water is a foundational step for development and the wellbeing of rural Cambodian communities. With clean water, illness decreases, enabling children to attend school, and adults to have more time to work and feed their families. It allows communities to flourish and achieve a higher quality of life. Water-borne diseases are the greatest threat to the Siem Reap province where Jomreoun lives, and that is why it is one of the leading efforts of Trailblazer Foundation to help people get access to clean drinking water.
Trailblazer is on track for distributing its goal of 450 bio-sand water filters in 2018, as part of our Health Program, having installed over 100 bio-sand water filters so far.
With your continued support we are confident we will reach, and perhaps exceed our total goal. Thank you for the support you have given to help us reach these rural families with potable water, bringing them hope of a better life.
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.
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