WASH

children from the luoyan kindergarten center

Look Who’s Excited to Play on Dry Ground

For the children of rural China that attend Luoyan Township Central Kindergarten in Yunnan, standing water often accumulated and surrounded the school grounds. When the kindergartners ran outside playing they would frequently slip and fall on the slick ground, and the standing water interfered with the children’s physical education and playtime activities.

In partnership with CWEF and made possible through your generosity, the Luoyan kindergarten recently constructed beautiful suspended outdoor floors to serve as a physical education space for all the children. It is hoped that through this new space the children will improve their athletic abilities, increase their self-confidence, and develop an enthusiasm for sports.

 

On March 30th, 2023 the school hosted a kindergarten-wide physical fitness competition called, in part, “Waiting for the Flowers to Bloom.” The children expressed great excitement and anticipation for the competition! Please enjoy the included photos of this event!

Thank you so much for caring and giving generously to the children of rural China! Because of you, these sweet children are able to enjoy these gorgeous new facilities and experience improved physical fitness and overall health.

Get casual updates about your positive impact on the lives of children in China! Follow us on Facebook.

Or read more right now about all the good you’re doing by clicking here!

Look Who’s Excited to Play on Dry Ground Read More »

CWEF biosand water filter recipient, Yun, drinking a cup of filtered water and standing next to the biosand water filter

Man at Work

Yun’s family kept borrowing money. More and more money, more and more debt. What could he do? Everyday life simply cost too much. He couldn’t afford the things his family needed to survive. 

Yun is a young man of twenty-five years old and lives in Kampong Thom Province in Cambodia. 

He and his whole family kept falling ill over and over again. They returned to the hospital over and over again. Every month they needed medical treatment, and the treatments cost a lot.

More bills, more debt. 

Yun wanted to earn money through his work as a farmer; but he often felt so physically terrible due to sickness that he couldn’t work very much, and he had no other way to earn more money for his family.

Yun standing with his family next to a CWEF biosand water filter

At home, when Yun and his family wanted to cook dinner or wash clothes, they retrieved water from a well. But they knew that the well water was dirty, and they feared what might happen to them if they drank dirty well water. 

So they came up with another idea: collecting rainwater for drinking. The rainwater must be clean, they thought. But still the cycle continued of more illness and less work and more debt. 

Thanks to your generosity, Yun’s family eventually received a biosand water filter through CWEF! Yun watched his family closely in the days and weeks after they began drinking the filtered water, and he happily realized that they came down with sicknesses much less often. He also suddenly discovered that he had more free time.

And on top of that, he had more energy. Enough time and energy to farm and earn more money and, even better, start saving money! Best of all, he received fewer and fewer expensive medical bills. Isn’t it amazing what clean water can do?

Now before he goes out into the fields to farm, Yun brings bottles of water from the the biosand water filter. And he will drink multiple glasses of filtered water before he goes out to the river to catch fish. Yun says, “Now, I am very happy after having received a Biosand Filter from Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation (CWEF) in 2019. All of my family members and I are healthy, and I hope that in the future my family’s living condition will be better.” 

Yun thanks you for your generous donation and for supporting his living situation!   

Stay up-to-date on all the transformational work your donations are supporting by following us on Facebook!

Man at Work Read More »

Healthy & Happy & Ready for 2023!

Healthy and Happy in 2023

Imagine for a minute — it’s the dead of winter. Suddenly the hot water and your shower at home both stop working. How long would you be able to make it?

That scenario is still the daily reality for school children all over rural China, including those in tiny Luoyan township — a small and unknown corner of China’s rural and remote southwest region.

In Luoyan township, there are nine primary schools, and many of the students attending these schools are boarding students. They live in dormitories on the school campus during the week because their families live too far away to be able to conveniently travel back and forth to school every morning and evening.

Thanks to your generous support of CWEF’s HEAL program, two of these schools — Tianjing Primary School and Gonghe Primary School — have became the first in the township to be able to offer warm showers to their students!

Inspecting new solar-heated shower rooms

In October 2022, the transformation of current facilities at the two schools into freshly renovated solar-heated shower rooms was completed, and our CWEF team members, along with local nonprofit, government, and school leaders, visited the Tianjing and Gonghe schools to conduct the official inspection and final acceptance of the project.

Prior to HEAL being launched at these two schools in 2022, none of the primary schools in Luoyan county had shower rooms or proper bathing facilities for the boarding students to use in order to keep clean and healthy while living and studying at school.

In addition to solar-heated shower rooms, your generous donations to the HEAL program also made it possible for both schools to receive much-needed upgrades to their dilapidated toilets and aging sewage systems, as well as 16 drinking water filter units to further ensure good health, sanitation, and hygiene for the students.

The HEAL program — which stands for “Health Education, Advocacy & Literacy” — is not just about buildings and health-related infrastructure like water filters, shower rooms, and sanitary toilets.

In conjunction with these upgrades to infrastructure, the CWEF team and our local partners also made important investments in the schools’ students and teachers themselves through the training of local health advocates and organizing health promotion activities.

Evaluation survey before health training

In November 2022, a health education program was initiated with 426 students and 31 teachers at Tianjing and Gonghe schools. Training sessions, demonstrations, and fun competitions were held to encourage healthy habits like washing hands, washing faces, brushing teeth, and keeping their school and dormitory environment clean and tidy.

Preparing for health training at Tianjing school
Health training at Gonghe Primary School

In addition, earlier in the year CWEF and our local partners brought in an experienced facilitator to guide 22 teachers from the two schools through a one-day mental health education workshop. The purpose of this course was to help the teachers understand and strengthen their own mental health, to learn to better understand the inner worlds of their young students, and to train the teachers in simple but effective ways to provide guidance and counseling to their students who may be struggling with poor mental health or challenges at home.

In 2022, your generous support of the HEAL program empowered our CWEF team and local partners to make important upgrades in the health-related infrastructure and external environment at Tianjing and Gonghe schools.

Jenny of CWEF with local partners

More importantly, your partnership has made valuable investments in the long-term physical, mental, and emotional health of the students who live and learn there.

With your help, 2023 will be a healthier and happier year for these special young people who are working hard to build a better future for themselves and their communities.

+++

p.s. — If you’d like to see an overview of all of CWEF’s work in rural China and Cambodia during 2022, you can watch this 3-minute video. Thank you for helping to make all of this good work possible!

This article was written by Joshua Lange – CWEF Executive Director.

Discover other rural Yunnan health initiatives that your giving makes possible here.

Stay up to date with the exciting impact of your donations by following us on Facebook and/or Instagram!

Healthy and Happy in 2023 Read More »

women drinks clean water from her home in ratanakiri, cambodia

What Difference Does a BioSand Water Filter Make?

What difference does a BioSand Water Filter make?

 In the tropical country of Cambodia an estimated 2-3 million people get their daily drinking water from unsafe water sources. Rural communities gather water from rainfall, wells, rivers, or standing water. The Cambodian government has set an ambitious goal for 100% of the population to have access to safe drinking water by 2025.

If properly installed and maintained, a BioSand water filter can last up to 25 years! This slow drip system removes 100% of waterborne worms and eggs. Surface water is cleaned in the low-tech device and is easily accessed directly from the filter. When a filter is installed at home, families can conveniently treat water at home to protect against disease.

Playing games with local kids in Ratanakiri

What difference do CWEF’s local partners make?

Pastor John is a farmer and serves a local congregation in his hometown in Ratanakiri province. As a local partner of CWEF, he provides important health training to families in his area who receive gifts of BioSand Water Filters, because of your generous giving.

When a family receives a water filter, they immediately experience many health benefits. Furthermore, local partners like Pastor John also train families in how to properly maintain their water filter, and lessons in sanitation and hygiene practices give families additional tools for preventing disease and improving their overall health.

In 2022 and 2023, CWEF will provide clean and safe drinking water via BioSand Water Filters for over 100 families in two rural communities in Ratanakiri province. The partnership with local Christian pastors like Pastor John, together with their congregation members in the Deh and Chang villages, will make your gift of safe drinking water more powerful and sustainable for the long-term.

You can see Biosand Water Filter #39 in Ratanakiri province by watching this video.

CWEF’s Kanhchana leads a health lesson with kids

What difference are you making by supporting CWEF BioSand Water Filters in Cambodia?

Globally, diarrhea is one of the leading causes of death in children under five years of age. Water-borne illnesses are preventable with the use of proper water treatment, such as the BioSand Water Filters you are supporting in Cambodia. Access to clean water, coupled with handwashing and other healthy hygiene habits, can bring a life-changing renewal of health to whole families. In particular, more children and their families in Deh and Chang villages in Ratanakiri will enjoy full health without the threat of malnutrition, dehydration, or death from diarrhea.

This past October, CWEF highlighted the importance of WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene), in connection with Global Handwashing Day on October 15.

Don’t forget — the next time you wash your hands or drink from an indoor faucet, you also can remember the gift of health that you have provided to families in rural Cambodia. Because of your generosity, they too can enjoy the immense gift of drinking water at home, and the improved health it brings.

Thank you for your partnership!

This article was written by Karin Semler, CWEF Board Member

What Difference Does a BioSand Water Filter Make? Read More »

Clan John with family members

Down an Impassable Road

John, a farmer from a remote mountain village in Cambodia, along with his wife and children always drank from the village well. Many times a year they would all fall ill with stomach aches and diarrhea as well as frequently experience other health complications like lower back pain and eye problems.

John filling up on clean water from the biosand water filter!

John is descended from an ancient Cambodian ethnic group. Because he lives in the remote mountains, it is very difficult to travel outside of his own village. John attended school until fifth grade and can speak two languages: Khmer and Jarai. In 1998 during the Pol Pot regime, he married his wife in Vietnam near the Khmer border. They had six children together; but sadly, in 2001, one of their daughters died from leukemia.

Now John owns 10 hectares of land where he works hard morning until evening six days a week with his wife to farm cassava and cashews. Despite all of their faithful hard work, for a long time John and his wife could not afford enough food or medical care for their family.

In 2010, a CWEF team – together with a partner organization – visited John’s village. They shared the gospel with John and his family and also taught them how to eat healthy, how to wash their hands with proper technique, and how to boil water in order to make it safe for drinking. After CWEF’s first visit, John began to serve his local church, study the Bible outside of his village, and share the gospel with other people in his own community. Because he speaks both languages, John also assists with translating the Bible from the Khmer language into the Jarai language so that people in his community can better understand God’s Word.

In 2014, a few years after CWEF’s first visit, John requested a biosand water filter from CWEF. Unfortunately, the materials for the filter could not be transported over the terrible village roads. But recently with improved roads, CWEF was finally able to fulfill John’s request and delivered thirty biosand water filters to John’s community! In 2023, with your generous support, we plan to provide clean and safe drinking water via biosand water filters to many more in John’s community and the surrounding area.

John with his children and a few nieces/nephews.

Today John says:

“My community is so blessed by God through receiving Biosand Filters from the CWEF organization. Now we do not spend a lot of time boiling drinking water, and we feel comfortable after we get safe drinking water at home. Thank you CWEF for continuing to work in my community and encouraging us so much in the name of God.”

John and his wife have also now achieved better production on their farm and are able to provide enough food and medical care for their family.

Thank you for your generous support of the HEAL (Health Education, Advocacy, and Literacy) program, facilitate by CWEF! You make it possible for families like John’s to not only hear about the goodness and generosity of God, but also to experience it through clean water, health education, and improved sanitation. Your generosity is transforming lives!

Want more frequent updates? Follow us on Facebook & Instagram!

Want to help more families like John’s? Join the CWEF Community and become a monthly donor today!

This story was written by Kanhchana, CWEF Director of Cambodia, and edited by April Chiasson, CWEF Communications Manager. This story was translated into Mandarin by Qian Qian, CWEF Volunteer.

Down an Impassable Road Read More »

She’s Transforming Her Village

Xingqi is a nineteen year old woman from a village in Yunnan belonging to the Miao ethnic minority group. When CWEF’s team first came to Xingqi’s village, they discovered many hazardous health conditions there. For example, farm animals lived inside the same houses with people. Livestock manure lay on the floor inside homes and throughout the village. Many families dumped trash behind their houses, and the trash continued to pile higher and higher. 

Xingqi’s village has 23 households that all belong to the Miao minority ethnic group. There are over nine million Miao people in China today, and traditionally, the Miao are known for their elaborate embroidery and silver jewelry. 

In 2015, CWEF began a clean water project for village residents. After establishing basic facilities for clean water, several villagers volunteered to participate in a program called HEAL (“Health Education, Advocacy, and Literacy”). Through this process, a core group of residents were trained to become health advocates for their own communities. 

Xingqi with the other residents from her village that volunteered to train as community health advocates

In Xingqi’s village, CWEF first implemented a strategy called Training of Trainers (TOT) where previously-trained health advocates from nearby Miao villages trained the Miao in Xingqi’s village. This process reinforces learning for the recently-trained health advocates. Also, when local people train their neighbors, they speak in their native language and share their culture which makes the health training more effective.  

And who showed up to the HEAL training? Xingqi, who was just starting middle school, and her mother. While Xingqi and her mother seemed nervous at first, the CWEF team also immediately recognized that these two women possessed outstanding communication and leadership abilities, and both women quickly mastered the new health knowledge and skills. 

Xingqi participating in HEAL (Health Advocacy and Literacy) training

Through health trainings, Xingqi learned about many topics such as: the safe use of pesticides, the hazards of abusing alcohol, how to treat children’s fever and much much more. As a core health advocate in her village, Xingqi came up with creative methods for promoting health education in her community, including using sketch performances with self-made props!  

Xingqi organizing a health promotion skit

CWEF taught procedures for maintaining environmental hygiene which explained that poultry should be kept in captivity to prevent zoonotic diseases, that livestock and people should live separately, and that garbage should be allocated to one communal place. 

An aerial view of part of Xingqi’s village

Xingqi said that the environmental sanitation and health conditions have changed significantly in her village. Now, one quarter of the community dumps their trash in a designated communal pit. And when you go out, it is rare to see livestock manure. All in all, Xingqi and her village enjoy a much cleaner and healthier living environment!  

Xingqi dressed up in traditional Miao clothing for a special occasion.

Thank you for your generosity and for making it possible for people like Xingqi to have opportunities to grow and thrive through life-changing health education and community advocacy!

This article was written by Jenny, Senior Program Director in Yunnan; translated from Mandarin into English by Qian Qian, Volunteer; and edited by both Joshua Lange, Executive Director, and April Chiasson, Communications Manager. 

 

She’s Transforming Her Village Read More »

No More Night

Hel, a Cambodian man from a rural village, used to run with a disreputable crowd. Back then, he worked mostly in secret under the cover of night.

But all that changed in 2014 when he attended a HEAL (“Health Education, Advocacy & Literacy”) training session facilitated by Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation.

When Hel was growing up, the school near his home only offered classes through sixth grade. Because of this, he never had the opportunity to attend high school.

But the new information he suddenly learned about health and sanitation through the HEAL training felt exciting to him. He believed the new information was vital for the future welfare of his village, and it completely changed his perspective on life. He soon decided to earn his living in a completely different way and began working for local NGO’s toiling to improve his own community and increase the level of child literacy.

After several years of steady service for his community, Hel is now 38 years old and serves his village as the Sunday pastor. No longer wanting to conceal his activities under cover of night, he now farms cassava during the day to support his wife and three children.

It’s amazing to see how one educational opportunity can transform the trajectory of someone’s life for the better!

We’re thankful for Hel, his heart for service, and all that he’s doing to empower his own village community in Cambodia. And we’re thankful for you and your generous gifts to the HEAL program!

HEAL participants develop awareness and receive training to serve as health advocates in their own communities. The HEAL program also provides needed community infrastructure, such as water filters and water wells, along with hygiene education for the whole community.

Receive more updates about your donation impact by following us on Facebook and Instagram.

Help change more lives like Hel’s by donating to CWEF programs here.

This story was written by Kanhchana, Director of CWEF Cambodia, with support from April Chiasson, Communications Manager.

No More Night Read More »

Windows of the Soul and Door to a Bright Future

by Elena & Karin Semler

It is often said that “eyes are the windows of the soul.” Not only that; they are also a gateway for education and deeper understanding. 

During late November and December 2021, to serve students at Heshangzhuang and Zengyi Primary Schools in Yunnan province, CWEF partnered with staff from the local nonprofits Education in Sight and the Zhengxin Social Work Service Center in Wuding county to provide vision screening and to teach children about the importance of eye care.

The eye care activities for 134 students at these two primary schools in Wuding County are just one small piece of a broader, comprehensive program the schools have partnered with CWEF to facilitate, which is called HEAL (“Health Education, Advocacy & Literacy”).

HEAL addresses the need for proper health-related equipment and resources, along with the deeper knowledge and behavior change needed for students to lead a full, healthy life.

Eye health is a key – and sometimes missing – piece, as one student noted:

“It was the first time we tested our eyesight, and we realized that eyes are so important. The world is blurry if you don’t see well. If you are nearsighted, you should wear glasses with the correct prescription. We should develop good habits and do eye exercises carefully.”

Eye screening with Mr. Yin of Education in Sight

Mr. Yin, the trainer from Education in Sight, reflected:

“The students were very curious to learn that the proportion of myopia among rural children is much lower than their peers in the cities.”

The recent global increase in myopia (or nearsightedness)is attributed to the increased use of electronics and screen time in young children. In addition to the training, books about proper eye care were given to the students, and all the students were screened for myopia.

Myopia can be most easily corrected by eyeglasses. Of the students tested, around 7% were found to have myopia. Most of these students were given free glasses available directly from Education in Sight, and the others were advised to go to the hospital for further screening.

Understanding proper eye care methods and providing glasses is important because without this intervention, more children are vulnerable to developing myopia or other eye issues. Working to prevent and treat eye issues like myopia can help the students in their general health and school education. The teachers at the Heshangzhuang and Zengyi schools reported that the screenings and health education activities were very meaningful, and will further give them the opportunity to follow up with ongoing health education related to eye care and their students’ overall health.

CWEF, together with our local partners, would not be able to facilitate the HEAL program or provide this free eye health education, eye tests, or glasses for these students from underserved communities without generous supporters like you.

Thank you for your generous donations. You are making a clear difference in these children’s lives and giving them the chance to see a bright future.

Windows of the Soul and Door to a Bright Future Read More »

No Longer “Underwater” (Thanks to Clean Water)

Maiy was stressed and worried. His family was “underwater.”

As a new husband to his wife Chantou and adoptive father to her two sons, Maiy was feeling the weight of the family’s debt. They had taken out a microfinance loan to buy equipment for their family’s small farming operation, but now Maiy couldn’t even stay healthy enough to keep working every day in the fields in order to pay down the debt.

He and the rest of the family would frequently fall ill with diarrhea and painful stomach aches. At the time, they didn’t know the cause of their sickness: their daily habit of drinking the rainwater that they collected at their home in rural Tboung Khmum province, Cambodia.

With their frequent waterborne illness, the family’s medical expenses piled on top of their other daily expenses, which piled on top of their debt. Maiy couldn’t see a way out.

Then, through a connection with their local Christan church, Maiy and Chantou learned about a BioSand Water Filter project in their community, made possible by your generous gifts to CWEF.

They learned more about the water filters from their pastor, and they attended a training session where they learned about the dangers of drinking unsafe water, as well as different ways they could protect themselves and their kids.

Maiy and Chantou participate in HEAL training

Finally, they received the gift of a BioSand Water Filter in 2021. Since then, they have had the great blessing of drinking clean and safe water every day.

Maiy recently shared:

“Now, I feel relaxed and happy after getting our Biosand Water Filter from CWEF. We can filter either rainwater or well water for our family’s daily drinking needs. I also regularly bottle the water from the filter and take it with me to the fields when I go out to work.”

Maiy, Chantou, and their boys don’t get sick as often as they did before, and now Maiy has plenty of time and energy to do his farming work each day. He estimates that they will have the microfinance loan debt paid off in just 7 more months.

As a committed Christian and a member of their local church, Maiy and Chantou have also been led to participate as trained local advocates in the broader community health and development program called HEAL (“Health Education, Advocacy & Literacy”), which is sponsored by CWEF and facilitated in partnership with the local pastor, Sareun, and his wife, Ly. The team of HEAL advocates in their community have participated in a series of in-depth training sessions, and are committed to being agents of positive change in their area.  

Maiy and his family now want to do what they can to bless and serve others in their community, as they themselves have been blessed through the local church, in partnership with CWEF.

Maiy closed our conversation with this simple and selfless note of gratitude and hope:

“My family members all got healthier now, and I hope to see that God will use my family in the future to share the Gospel with others.”

No Longer “Underwater” (Thanks to Clean Water) Read More »

HEALTHY BODIES, HEALTHY MINDS, HEALTHY PLANET

Students at Anla and Heshangzhuang Primary School in rural Yunnan province ended the previous school year and started the new school year strong and healthy. Students at both schools participated in TOT (“Training of Trainers”) activities as part of the ongoing HEAL (“Health Education, Advocacy & Literacy”) program facilitated by the CWEF team and our local partners. These student health advocates will go on to serve others in their families and school communities by sharing the knowledge and healthy habits they have learned through this series of HEAL training activities over the span of 1-2 years.    

Before their schools broke for the holiday, in June 2021 students at Anla and Heshangzhuang learned knowledge and practiced healthy behaviors related to personal hygiene, COVID-19 prevention, healthy diet, eye care, disaster preparedness, and basic first aid training.

These HEAL Training of Trainer sessions were delivered as a collaborative effort — trainers from CWEF along with several partner organizations, including eye care and vision-focused non-profit Education in Sight, Zhengxin Social Work Service Center of Wuding county, and the Yunnan Mountain Eagle Rescue Service Center. Working in concert, our organizations can achieve more, and the training we provide to the students is more effective and has a stronger impact. 

Of equal importance is the varied mode of training that is used during these sessions. Our trainers use games, songs, videos, demonstrations, simulations, and other practical exercises to engage different parts of the students’ bodies, brains, and emotions, so that the knowledge and habits learned will have a better chance of sticking with them, and later, spreading to others in their community.

Jenny Chu of CWEF shares: 

“This way of combining theory with practice makes students learn more intuitively. We are helping them to enhance their awareness first, and then to support their knowledge with action.”

Most recently, in September 2021, students at Heshangzhuang Primary School participated in the third session of their HEAL student health advocate training. After learning to take care of their own health and that of their family and friends, they were introduced to the concept of caring for the health of the planet. The training facilitators framed this sometimes complex topic in more simple terms that connected students back to health concerns they are familiar with:

“The Earth has a fever. How can we help the Earth to be healthy?”

HEALTHY BODIES, HEALTHY MINDS, HEALTHY PLANET Read More »

Scroll to Top