water

Children entering the gate to Shigang Primary School in the mountains of Yunnan, China

A Primary School In the Mountains of Yunnan

Students in the courtyard of Shigang Primary School, Yunnan, China

Shigang Primary School

Shigang Primary School is located in a rural area of the mountainous Chinese province called Yunnan. There 178 3rd – 6th grade children attend classes. Twenty-five percent of them are ‘left-behind children.’  This means that their parents work full-time in other cities and possibly only come home once or twice a year.

Students using 1 of the 10 water purification systems you provided

The Children Didn’t Have Clean Water

Shigang Primary School had a great need for cleaner water as well as more health education for its students. Because of you and your generous support, CWEF was able to provide 10 water purifications systems. Now all the children can have plenty of clean drinking water during the school day. CWEF also offered robust safety and health education classes. At the beginning of the class, as many as 40% of surveyed students were not regularly washing their hands. In the health education classes, students were taught all about germs.   They also learned the importance of washing their hands and brushing their teeth. Your generous giving also provided the students of Shigang Primary School with very practical items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, and towels to help them practice what they’ve learned.

Students receiving the hygiene gifts you gave them, like toothbrushes and towels

Check out this beautiful view from the school basketball court!

Because of You, These Children Will Live Healthier and Happier

Through these health education courses and hygiene-related gifts, students grew in their knowledge and understanding of disease and how to prevent it. Now they will be able to share their new knowledge with their parents and families, creating a ripple effect throughout their community. Because of their access to clean water and deeper understanding of hygiene, students will suffer fewer sick days and benefit from increased participation in school helping them to grow up to be healthier happier adults.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOVE AND CARE FOR THE CHILDREN OF RURAL CHINA! Your generous giving through CWEF is bringing greater health and happiness to hundreds of Chinese children.

See more of your impact on the lives of children in rural China – follow us on Facebook!

Expand your impact!  Become a CWEF monthly donor today to help even more children grow up to be servant leaders in their own communities!

Students attending an education class about on-campus , off-campus and food safety

A Primary School In the Mountains of Yunnan Read More »

Great Barriers to Clean Water in Cambodia

Please enjoy part of an interview with Kanhchana Thoy, CWEF Director in Cambodia: 

  1. How many people in Cambodia do not have clean water? According to the latest available data from 2020, More than 12 million people in Cambodia (72% of the population) lack access to safe water.  Most of them live in rural areas. 
  2. What keeps people in Cambodia from getting clean water? There are multiple factors. The first is that the income people earn is too low to afford better access. The second is a lack of knowledge about the nature and impact of the water they are using as well as lack of knowledge about how to make the water safer.  The third major influence is cultural practices. For example, one group of rural people receiving clean water support from CWEF is the Jerai people. Their habit is to use mountain runoff water directly without boiling it, and they previously did not realize how nearby human waste and animals contaminate their water. But through your support, CWEF has been able to teach and equip the Jerai people with the knowledge, skills, and tools to have clean water on a daily basis.  
  3. How does CWEF choose who to give water filters to? Since the need is greatest in rural areas, we seek to work with low-income communities in rural areas of Cambodia. Also, we look for communities whose leaders are motivated and interested in partnering with us. 
  4. How many water filters did CWEF give out in Cambodia last year? Last year we gave out 30 biosand water filters in Chang Village and 30 biosand water filters to the villages of Deh and Samkanigh in Rattanakiri province.  So far this year, we have distributed 60 biosand water filters in Davealeng village, Deh village, Banlung, and other villages.

Think of each of these individual families – their grandparents, parents, and children – who now not only understand how their drinking water was contaminated and causing illness, but they are now empowered to sustainably access clean water every day!  These families are experiencing greater health and happiness and are spending less money cleaning their water and treating water-borne illnesses because of you and your generosity!  What better way to transform someone’s life?  Thank you so much for your heart for clean water for families in Cambodia!

Help more people in Cambodia have access to clean drinking water! Click here to give today!

Receive casual updates about the impact of your giving! Follow us on Facebook.

Great Barriers to Clean Water in Cambodia 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 »

BUILDING HEALTHY LIVES IN RURAL YUNNAN

The children were amazed to see the purple glow that emerged from on their classmate’s hands under the black-light. The idea of invisible bacteria and contaminants is difficult for anyone to understand. As part of CWEF’s health education curriculum, students participate in a simulation activity in which they see the transfer of ‘bacteria’ from hand to hand contact. The ‘bacteria’ is a transparent powder that is easily spread through contact. The transmission path can be seen when a black-light exposes the invisible fluorescent powder.

In December 2019, CWEF Health Director Jenny Chu led 30 children from two primary schools in Wuding county in rural Yunnan province through a two-day health education “Training of Trainers” session as a part of the HEAL (Health Education Advocacy & Literacy) program. These students will serve as health advocates—providing instruction and modeling to their peers in the areas of good hygiene and health promotion. 

The World Health Organization promotes proper handwashing to prevent illness and reduce the spread of disease. Once rural areas have access to reliable and safe drinking water, additional health and hygiene practices need to be introduced. Through HEAL training, children learn how to thoroughly wash their hands and gain knowledge about bacteria and contaminant transmission. Through reference books, hands-on training, the germ-glow black-light simulation, and a handwashing song, student health advocates learn knowledge and practice good habits. They are also equipped to teach their peers about the importance of handwashing and serve as models for this healthy habit.

In addition to handwashing, the program addresses oral hygiene and proper teeth brushing techniques, healthy diet and nutrition, and importance of keeping a sanitary environment. The training provides children with critical information for healthy living and opportunities for the health advocates to engage with their peers by sharing the information and leading activities. CWEF gathers baseline information regarding the knowledge and personal hygiene practices of the students in order to provide supplemental training and information.

BUILDING HEALTHY LIVES IN RURAL YUNNAN Read More »

Project Success Leads to New Work in Tboung Khmum

Since 2011, CWEF has collaborated with local churches and government partners in Cambodia’s Kampong Thom province to improve health through holistic development projects. A pillar of CWEF’s work in Kampong Thom has been the Biosand Water Filter project supported by your generous gifts, which have provided local families with convenient access to clean and safe water in their homes, reducing the impact of water-borne illnesses. Additional work in this area over the past decade has included an Animal Gift project, which has provided sustainable income for 44 low-income families, along with eight new water wells in four villages.

“When a family receives a Biosand Filter, they also participate in health education training related to safe drinking water, how to use the Biosand Filter, and instructions related to installation and maintenance,” shares Kanhchana Thoy, CWEF Cambodia Health Programs Director. CWEF works in partnership with local pastors and village leaders throughout the length of the project, providing these remote communities with life-changing health provisions.

In total, 310 Biosand Water Filters have impacted a total of 2320 people in the Sandan and Chheu Tile communes, serving both families and primary schools. From time to time, the filters need to be renewed and repaired, and this project also restores broken Biosand Filters as needed. We are thankful to share that because your generous gifts, the most acute needs of this remote area have been provided for.


CWEF’s Kanhchana Thoy expresses our gratitude to Pastor Koy Thea in Kampong Thom
Visiting families with Pastor Sareun in Tboung Khmum

Now, our CWEF team in Cambodia is shifting its focus to a new area, again working closely with local church and village leaders. Tboung Khmum province is the location for a newly launched HEAL (“Health Education, Advocacy and Literacy”) project, which includes holistic health education and infrastructure like water wells and Biosand Water Filters.

This community development work will help the “large population of older women, who are taking care of their grandchildren and receiving remittances from their adult children (especially daughters) working in urban areas,” shares Kanhchana. In this area, the average income is between $3 and $4 a day. The health education program, coupled with reliable water wells and Biosand Water Filters, will help “communities live better lives by reducing sickness.”



CWEF anticipates a process of 3-5 years to implement a holistic approach as we equip local health advocates and local families in Tboung Khmum with training and infrastructure.

“This project will have a sustainable impact on many families in Tboung Khmum as we equip them with new knowledge and skills they can use to develop their own communities,” shares Kahnchana.

Thank you! Your support continues to help bring a life-changing renewal of health and hope to families in rural Cambodia.

Project Success Leads to New Work in Tboung Khmum Read More »

Health is Priceless

The rising costs of health care is a common concern in the West. People often take for granted the infrastructures and systems that automatically provide sanitary conditions and safe drinking water. Imagine what life is like for people, without health insurance, who are ill on a regular basis by simply drinking (unsafe) water.

Sambo and his wife, Ku, are 25-year-old farmers in the Sandan District of Kampong Thom Province in Cambodia. With a 7th grade education, Sambo makes a living by working the land on farms owned by others. But frequent diarrhea and abdominal pains not only kept Sambo from working; his chronic illness also incurred many medical bills for treatment. The whole family was ill and needed to borrow money just to cover their daily living expenses. The burden was very heavy on Sambo—how to provide for his family and pay the bills? Plus, all the while, they and their young son were struggling with poor health.

Using water from a well and collecting rainwater met their daily needs for washing clothes, cooking, and drinking. Ku believed that the rainwater was clean and was safe to use. However, the family was actually suffering from water-borne illnesses. In 2019, their lives dramatically improved after they decided to participate in a Biosand Water Filter and health training program facilitated by the local church and made possible by your generous donations to CWEF.

Sambo shares, “I regularly bottle the water from the filter and take it to the fields when I work, and I drink a lot of water before I go fishing on the river. All of my family members and I got healthier, and I hope that in the future my family’s living condition will continue to get better.”

Sambo now has enough time and energy to farm and provide for his family’s expenses. Not only are they healthy now—without abdominal pains and diarrhea—but they no longer need to spend so much money on medical treatments. Sambo and Ku can even begin to save money for their family’s future.

Here’s Sambo’s final word to you:

“Now, I am very happy after getting a Biosand Filter from Concordia Welfare & Education Foundation. Thank you for your donations to support my family’s living situation!”


Health is Priceless Read More »

Scroll to Top