Prasat Khnar Primary and Secondary School

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Germs, bacteria and high turbidity are known risks to drinking water

Khnar Khang Choeung is a located in the western part of Siem Reap Province, about 69 kilometers from Siem Reap. Over 85 percent of the community members depend on natural resources in the area to support their livelihoods. Most families only plant rice one time a year and some of them generate their income from selling forestry and fishery products. Some farmers are faced with agriculture yielding failure and this has forced them to migrate to work in other cities as laborers.Without clean drinking water and good health care service, there are many day-to-day challenges. The local residents are still concerned over drought and lacking water in the dry season. Some water sources in the area are easily contaminated with germs and bacteria. Collecting water is very difficult in this community due to water sources being far from the homes and the poor conditions of the roads.The school in the village also lacks access to clean drinking water.

Mrs. Channa, a 47-year-old resident of Khnar Khang who built her thatched-roof house with her husband, shares her experiences of lacking access to potable drinking water, “I am afraid to drink water from the borehole due to the iron is visible and has a bad smell and tastes unpleasantly. I boiled this water, but still it is not good for drinking because of its taste.Many families use the village pond because it is the only surface water source in the village. This is where my daughter and I collect water for our home. We spend 30-45 minutes in the morning to collect water to ensure it is enough for our daily consumption.I have stomach pain, but I do not have enough budget for intensive care in the hospital. I wish that in the future our village would have access to a clean water supply, proper sanitation facilities and renovated local infrastructure such as roads.

Nin Chaneat, an 11-year-old 5th grade student of Prasat Khnar Primary School explains the poor water conditions that she and her classmates are hoping will change with clean water, “I understand about germs, but my school has no clean drinking water or place to wash hands. I have to bring water to the school and sometimes I have to share with my classmates. I drink water from our neighbor’s jars when it is clear enough to drink.”

According to Chem Sansany, the fifth-grade teacher at Prasat Khnar Primary School, water conditions at this school are so severe that students frequently miss school because of waterborne illnesses, "The water in our school is unsafe and we have improper hygiene and sanitation facilities. Our school does not have clean water for drinking and the toilets are not functional. Many students suffer from diarrhea-the average student misses their class at least once a week because of unknown illnesses.

“Many water sources in the village taste unpleasantly because the community does not have access to safe water and good sanitation facilities. Many children often suffer from diarrhea and skin diseases because of bad hygiene. The school does not have any awareness of hygiene promotion to change the behavior of the students such as hands washing with soap and drinking safe water. We can only tell them verbally to prevent them from other illnesses.”

– Hang Hing, Village Leader, Khnar Khang Choeung

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