Hang and Phat have much to celebrate

Holidays, birthdays, weddings–imagine if some of the considerations for whom would host some of life’s most exciting events were whether the host family has access to running water, or if they could offer guests a toilet. For millions of homes in the world, a faucet and bathrooms are a given. However, for billions of others, access to safe water or a toilet at home are longed-for luxuries. The challenges of the global water crisis impact their lives all year long.

Water collection and finding a safe place to go are major activities of the day for millions of women and children. They are left with little time for work, school, or to care for family. Without water or toilets at home, women and their families cannot live up to their full potential. It's time to change this.

“For me to host a wedding for my son without a toilet is embarrassing.” - Hang, Cambodia

Water.org is working in more than thirteen countries on four continents to empower families with safe water and sanitation – families like Hang and Phat in Cambodia. The couple lives in a rural Cambodian village. Here, they raised their son and daughter. An adult now, their son recently announced his engagement to be married. It is traditional to host the celebration at the groom’s family home but Hang and Phat did not have a toilet. While excited for their son’s wedding, Hang expressed concerns about hosting the celebration, “For me to host a wedding for my son without a toilet is embarrassing.” The guests would have to go outdoors to the rice fields to relieve themselves.

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Hang and Phat's toilet and washroom sits just a few feet from their home.

In addition to embarrassment, Hang was all too familiar with the safety risks associated with open defecation like snake and insect bites. Without the ability to pay for the construction of a toilet all at once, the couple tolerated the discomfort and risks of not having a private place to go. However, now motivated by the wedding date, Hang decided it was time to find a solution.

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Hang is excited to welcome her new daughter in-law into their family.

Water.org launched our work in Cambodia in 2014, laying the groundwork to help people like Hang and her family get access to safe water and toilets. We are now working with ten local microfinance institutions to meet the demand of low-income families, empowering them to finance their water and sanitation solutions with small, affordable loans. Through one of our partners in Cambodia, Hang and Phat took out a loan to finally fund the construction of a toilet on their property—just in time for their son’s wedding.

For millions around the world like Hang and Phat, access to funds stands between them and safe water and sanitation in their home. This is why we created WaterCredit. WaterCredit helps bring small loans to those who need access to affordable financing and expert resources to make household water and toilet solutions a reality.


In honor of your birthday or next life-event, join Water.org and help change lives through safe water. Ask your guests to donate to a fundraiser in lieu of gifts. Their donations to Water.org will give families lasting access to safe water and sanitation—making their celebrations, and futures, bright.

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Kelly and Tommy dedicated their wedding to safe water. Instead of gifts, their guests donated to Water.org!