In 2015, thanks to a very generous donation from Olivia and the Work Away Program that enabled the water project, 80 families gained access to running water. The families utilizing the water system pay a small fee-based on consumption, which goes to pay for maintenance costs, electricity used and the salary of the (local) worker managing the project. When the system was initially installed we advised the villagers against using the water for food and drinking purposes until a filtration system was in place. In 2016, thanks to the very generous grant from David and Sue Roffey we were able to add a filtration system. Now families have access to clean water.

This simple access has changed the daily life of our community. The traditional practice of getting water from the Mekong drained time and energy from the villagers daily lives and left them with an uncertain supply, as the cleanliness and availability of the water was not always assured. Tim Suo, a 70 year-old woman from Chiro, along with other families, confirmed the significance of this change while talking with us.

Tim Suo has been in Chiro since before it moved from its old location on the island in the Mekong to its current location on shore in 1993-1994. She recalls dreaming about light, water and a happy community. It is gratifying to hear her say she feels the place has become more like her dreams since electricity and running water have become available. When asked what progress she wanted to see in the village next, she asked when the school was going to be accredited and when toilets would be more widely available. Both of these are goals we are pursuing vigorously. We count on our community members such as Tim Suo for their support, without which none of the projects, especially the school, would be possible.