To the world he’s a dad but to his family, he is the world
As Thai shared the story of his life-long water crisis, his nine-year-old daughter, Maya, remained by his side. Holding Maya's hand as if thankful she doesn't know the water crisis as he once knew it, Thai explained a rare element of his family’s experience. Often, water collection is a task that falls to the women in a household, yet prior to getting approved for a loan to establish a lasting water connection on his property, Thai collected the water his family needed - not his wife, not his daughter.
Each morning he walked to a river to collect water for drinking, cooking, laundry, and bathing. He often repeated this task multiple times a day, in and out of work. He did it to protect his pregnant wife's health and Maya’s safety. Unfortunately, Thai could not control the quality of the water he could bring home. Humbly and regretfully Thai explained, “The water wasn’t hygienic, and it made us sick.” While applying for a home improvement and building loan through Phillip Bank in Cambodia, Thai learned that not only could he give his growing family an improved housing situation, he could use a portion of his loan (about $650) to finance safe water and sanitation solutions for the home, too. Thai’s valiance and big heart was rewarded with a safe water solution at home.
Small loans are possible for customers like Thai because Water.org worked with Phillip Bank to add water and sanitation loans to their offerings. Cambodia has a well-developed microfinance sector with high water and sanitation needs, which means solutions like ours will help expand access to household water and sanitation improvements for millions of families like Thai's.
I benefitted a lot from this loan. The best thing is I can repay it in small installments.
Hopping onto his motorbike to drive his noodle cart into town, Thai proudly explained, “I financed $250 to install a clean water system, and $400 to build a bathroom. I benefitted a lot from this loan. The best thing is I can repay it in small installments.” With his earnings as a street noodle vendor, Thai can afford those monthly installments because now he has more time to earn income and neither he or his family members require medical care to remedy waterborne illnesses.
It is for families like Thai’s family that we do what we do at Water.org. We currently work with seven microfinance institutions in Cambodia, reaching 90% of the communes in the country through WaterCredit. We also work directly with local water utilities (private water operators) to improve and expand their services to reach even more people in need of access to safe water and sanitation at home. Read Sa’s story to see how our utility partnerships help change lives with safe water.