Abundant Water recently teamed up with Child’s Dream, a not-for-profit Thai foundation, to deliver 70 filters to 8 schools in Xayaboury Province, northwest Laos. This is the third consecutive year that Abundant Water has partnered with Child’s Dream demonstrating the strength of our partnership. The field trip took six days and many hours of difficult travel between remote and rural communities.
Child’s Dream and Abundant Water have several years’ experience working in this region, and as always, the local schools were enthusiastic and hospitable. Teachers and students were eager to take the lead in making and installing the filters and learning how to maintain them. But, this field trip was even more significant than usual. Not only did Abundant Water and Child’s Dream staff reach over 2200 students and teachers over the six days, they also marked the delivery of Abundant Water’s 4000th water filter. Milestones like this are an excellent chance to reflect on the important work of Abundant Water, and the day-to-day efforts needed to deliver sustainable clean drinking water projects.
Certainly, while rewarding, the work of teaching a community how to make, install, and maintain water filters does not come without significant challenges. During this field trip, the days involved long hours of driving, with a few stops at local markets to collect parts of the water filters, including PVC piping and water tanks. Many of the communities visited by Abundant Water and Child’s Dream were several hours from the nearest paved road, which created accessibility problems (and resulted in a minor bogging incident!). This will only become more pronounced over the next six months as Laos enters the rainy season. For almost half the year, staff work against the weather to continue the water filter projects. Roads at times become untraversable during this season which makes transporting goods difficult.
However, even in the face of such testing circumstances delivering clean water to children is certainly worth the effort. When staff from Abundant Water and Child’s Dream arrived at each destination on this trip, the schools warmly welcomed them. Many lunches were spent getting to know everyone and the conversations often turned to discussions about life and education in rural Laos. For many public schools, resource constraints poses challenges for both students and their teachers. Schools often go without clean drinking water, as it is usually too expensive to provide. Lack of basic access to clean water can result in illness and decreased school attendance. It is fair to say lack of access to safe drinking water means some school children in Laos are missing opportunities to gain an education. It is clear that water and sanitation are the fundamental aspects of sustainable development particularly when it comes to supporting the education of children.
Clean drinking water is fundamental to reducing poverty and increasing economic and social opportunities. This is a driving consideration in everything Abundant Water does and is why we are so proud of our efforts to deliver safe and sustainable water to schools across Laos. Despite the challenges of working in rural and remote communities, Abundant Water will continue its efforts. We are proud to mark the achievement of delivering our 4000th water filter and look forward to the next 10 years of working with many more communities, delivering many more filters and making sure the children of Laos have a chance to reach their full potential.