Clean drinking water and hand washing access will reduce sick days
Pradak is a humble village located in the remote western part of Siem Reap Province; about 49 kilometers from downtown Siem Reap. Over 85 percent of the local people depend on natural resources in the area to support their livelihoods. Most families can only plant rice one time a year, and some of the villagers generate their income from selling forestry and fishery products. Some of the farmers are faced with agriculture yielding failure, which has forced them to migrate to work in other cities as laborers. Without clean drinking water and good health care services, daily living conditions are difficult. Most local residents are very concerned about drought and a lack of water -especially in the dry season because the water very easily gets contaminated with germs and bacteria. Water is collected from boreholes and ponds in the village and is used for cooking, drinking, laundry, and bathing. The village school does not have access to clean water. The school has one pond that is used as the water source for year-round consumption. The most wanted and needed thing in the school is clean drinking water.
Mrs. Puy Tuon is a farmer in Pradak village and she spends most of the day working in her rice fields and taking care of her family. More than one hour of her day and that of her daughters' is needlessly wasted -collecting contaminated water and then boiling it for consumption and cooking. She explains, “Today my daughters and I spent more than one hour collecting water from the borehole to fill up the water jar. My time is mostly spent in my rice field, cooking for my family,seeing my children off to school and boiling water for drinking. We know that the lack of clean water at home will put our health at risk.I worry about my family members health and the impact on our family economy. I often send my children to collect water. My children do not know much about good hygiene practices, that is why it is still my main concern to prevent them from other unforeseen illnesses as my family is poor and we do not want to spend our money for medical care."
Yun Len, the third-grade teacher at Pradak Primary School, explains the poor water conditions that she and her students experience and their challenges with health, “The school has no access to safe water and no proper hand washing facilities exist, so we always fear the water source in the school. Most of the students have been absent from their classes due to waterborne illnesses.”
Living here is difficult because the village lacks access to safe water or electricity, resulting in families faced with waterborne diseases and a feeling of helpless to improve their conditions. Soon, change will come to Pradak and this cycle will be broken.