Water for Kids - Bot Trong Primary School
Mao Hao is 11 years old and studies in grade 5 at Bot Trong Primary School. He is the youngest of 5 children and his favourite subject is learning the Khmer language. His Mum is a rice farmer and before his father passed away 7 years ago, he used to be a pastor in the local church. As we sat on a straw mat under a wooden house on stilts, Mao Hao told us, “I felt really happy and laughed a lot when SP staff taught us about hygiene as I really enjoyed it. I learnt how to wash my hands with soap after going to the bathroom and before eating.”
Bot Trong Primary School is in O’Chrov District, Samraong Commune of Banteay Meanchey Province. Banteay Meanchey Province is in north-west Cambodia and borders Thailand. The school was established in 1981, after the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia. There are currently 12 teachers and over 460 students at the school. Samaritan’s Purse (SP) Water for Kids program began working at the school in 2010 and has since provided 20 ceramic water filters and in July 2011 SP distributed water bottles to students. In addition, hygiene education was taught to each child which focussed on the importance of washing hands with soap, clean water and how good hygiene and sanitation practices prevents the transmission of diseases. Water for Kids will be constructing a fence around the school pond and installing a pond pump to supply water to their latrines.
Samaritan’s Purse Water for Kids program currently works in 47 primary schools across Banteay Meanchey province to provide water sources, clean drinking water and hygiene education. Some of these water source solutions include protected ponds with pumps and fences, 39,500 litre rainwater harvest tanks and hand washing stations.
Pouy Kimneing has been the school principal at Bot Trong Primary School for 10 years. She explained that some of the villagers are so poor that primary school students drop out to help their mother’s at home or cross the border into Thailand to often work in very difficult and harsh environments in order to provide money for their families. “The hygiene of the students is not so good because some parents don’t always care, lack the right knowledge or because they are poor they are busy working in the rice fields and so they don’t teach their children.”
Pouy Kimneing has a nephew called Sinpik Bratanaa and he lives with her as his father has died. Bratanaa is 14 years old and, even though he is disabled, he is able to study in grade 5. After studying hygiene education with SP’s Water for Kids staff he started to wash his hands properly and practice this newly learnt behaviour not only at school but also at home. “I am really happy to see my nephew washing his hands at home now,” said Pouy Kimneing.
Pouy Kimneing finished by telling SP, “I am happy with SP’s work because now kids can drink clean water at school as they have ceramic water filters and water bottles.”