Sok, aged sixty one, lives in Chambok Thom village with her nine year old granddaughter. Like so many households in Chi Kraeng district, her’s has few facilities – Sok’s home has no electricity, running water, or latrine facility. She has been disabled since birth, and has trouble walking. Her wheelchair has been broken for five months, and the cost of travelling to Siem Reap for repairs, over eighty kilometres away, is too much for her. Several months ago, a local NGO had agreed to provide assistance in this regard, but have not been in contact since. With limited mobility, and a young girl living with her, surviving can be hard.
“My nephew, who is fifteen, used to live in the house and help provide, but he left two months ago, to look for work in Thailand, and has not sent any money back”
She has a one hectare rice field nearby, but due to her disability, is unable to work on it. She lets her nearby relatives cultivate it, in exchange for a small share of the yield. There are a small number of banana trees on her property, which they use for themselves, and to sell in the village. For water, they have to rely on a neighbours’ well, which services several households:
“The well-water is dirty. It comes up brown, so we try not to drink it. Instead, we collect rainwater in large jugs, which still aren’t enough, and they’re very heavy for my grandaughter to carry around.”
Sok was interested in TGF’s ‘Rainwater Harvest System (RHS) because; it will provide her and her granddaughter with access to clean drinking water, it will reduce her reliance on the neighbours’ well, and will mean her granddaughter won’t have to try to carry heavy containers every time they need water. Instead, they can easily go to their RHS get as much or as little water as they need, when they need it.
To find participants for this project, TGF’s Water & Sanitation (WS) programme officers met with the local village chief, and asked him to invite those households which are classified by the state as Poor-One and Poor-Two – those most impoverished – to an RHS information session, to show villagers the value of having a more reliable source of water. Sok was instantly interested, and approached a WS representative, to arrange a home visit. To encourage more sustainable and lasting participation, TGF requires beneficiaries to provide small subsidies towards projects. Sok was asked to pay 100,000 Riel, or about $25. She has paid half, and will borrow money from her relatives to pay the rest, upon completion of the tank. She is excited to have the Rainwater Harvest System installed, and the opportunities it will afford, to concentrate on other things than water:
“My granddaughter and I will be able to have water more easily, and I can maybe grow more bananas with extra water from the tank”.