- Background: During the decades of the Civil War under Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, thousands of Cambodians fled from the countryside to neighboring countries to escape death. This included villagers from NW Cambodia. After the war those who survived were repatriated back to what remained of their villages. Today they make a subsistence living by agriculture (cassava), rice, and fishing. Today, the majority of families do not have access to clean, potable water, electricity or sanitation. Many families still carry water in buckets on their shoulders from nearby ponds or rivers. This water is used for drinking, bathing, washing food, growing vegetables, and watering livestock. Saron Soeun, grew up in Sleng Chhass Village where he still has family and friends. We met Saron in 2009 when he was our licensed tour guide when we visited the Temples of Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia. We immediately formed a genuine bond and on the third day he took us to Siem Reap Town and introduced us to beautiful families but he pointed out that they s did not have clean, safe water, electricity, or sanitation. Saron’s vision for his countrymen was to supply their needs for water. So we underwrote a $220.00 well but upon our return to Colorado we realized how blessed we are to have these needs supplied every day. We emailed Saron that we would like to do more.
- Our Project: The Water Pump Wells for Rural Cambodians Project became the start of a six year friendship through Skype and three visits to Cambodia. With the primary support of Summit County friends since 2010*(although we have other Colorado donors), California, New York, Oregon, Switzerland) we organized Annual Wine and Cheese Tastings at our home in Frisco., CO. A guest donation at the door is $25. We have had many loyal supporters who attend every year as well as new friends each year. Since 2009, our Project, Water Pump Wells for Rural Cambodians has provided 285 hand pump wells with filters; 35 cement pipe wells (for deeper well drilling) with filters; 10 farm ponds; and 214 stand alone filters. (The first year, 2010, our Fundraiser provided 10 wells, in 2015 it provided 40 wells.)
While our donors are primarily individuals and families, our Project is fortunate to be the recipient of school fundraisers- Tam Valley Elementary, CA, The Colorado Springs School, CO,
Summit Cove Elementary, CO; Church donations- Lord of the Mountains Lutheran Church, CO; and the Summit County Rotary, CO.
- Tax Deductible Gifts. Initially we were not able to offer tax deductible status to our donors. However, in 2011 we were put in contact with Lantern Projects. Gail Uilkema, Piedmont, CA., created this organization to provide 501c3 status to small organizations who cannot afford the expense of a 501c3. For more information go to www.lanternprojects.org. We were accepted. In 2012 Lantern Projects invited us to attend a Fund Raiser for Clean Water in Cambodia. We were one of two Projects chosen. It was a special opportunity to meet Gail and many committed donors from her organization. Now the majority of our supporters can send their donations directly to Lantern Projects- Project #184- which returns 100% of the money to us. We then send these donations via Western Union to Saron for the specific project requested by the donor. Since the inception of our Project- Water Pump Wells for Rural Cambodians – 100% of donations are channeled to the requested project! *