Integral to the success and growth of a community is its health. More often than not, it's the little things we take for granted that can make the biggest difference.
Kompong Khleang Water Filtration System
Cambodia's Kompong Khleang is on the flood plain of Tonlé Sap, the largest lake in Southeast Asia. Water is the lifeblood of the community with fishing and farming as two of its main professions. Unfortunately, drinking water is scare.
During the rainy season, residents live above the murky water on floating platforms and houses built on stilts. When the lake recedes, residents dig shallow wells but the water isn't potable. A public well is available at the local elementary school for its 350 students and their families, but it too is shallow and does not meet hygienic standards.
To help aid the community, Compassionate Eye Foundation has funded a Kids International Development Society (K.I.D.S) project to build a clean drinking water system for the school. The new well will improve both the quantity and quality of the water that serves 1,000 people in the area.
Communities need clean water to be healthy. With it flowing from a new well, the people of Kompong Khleang can thrive.
Sasarsdam High School Washrooms
Over a thousand students attend Sasarsdam High School in rural Cambodia. Unfortunately, their school building does not currently meet their hygiene needs. Only four squat toilets serve the entire student body and, even worse, there is no designated washroom for the female students and teachers.
Most of the students travel long distances to attend school and cannot easily go home every day. Without proper hygienic facilities, attendance is compromised.
To improve conditions for the school's female population, K.I.D.S. International and Compassionate Eye Foundation have teamed up to build a designated women's washroom. With their hygiene and privacy needs being met, female attendance is expected to rise along with their achievement in the classroom. Furthermore, this will provide a more comfortable work environment for the female instructors.
With the addition of a facility that much of the developed world takes for granted, female students and teachers can feel more comfortable and confident attending Sasarsdam High School.
Nutrition and Methyl Mercury Assessment
University of British Columbia - Division of Global Health
The Napo River in northeastern Peru is the primary source of transportation, drinking water and food for the indigenous people in this region. For these isolated communities, it's fish that provide the bulk of their sustenance. The possibility of methyl mercury toxicity in the fish is of great concern, especially since it endangers the health of pregnant women and their unborn babies, as well as young children.
The sole provider of primary health to more than 100 communities along 300 kilometers of the river is the Saint Clothilde Health Center. Together with the University of British Columbia's Division of Global Health, they have developed a three-phase approach to ascertain the risk of methyl mercury to the 22,000 people they serve.
During Phase One, a research team identified fish, food, and water consumption patterns to understand the true risk of mercury toxicity. For Phase Two, now in progress, researchers are sampling the ten most commonly consumed fish to test for levels of methyl mercury in each species.
Compassionate Eye Foundation has provided funding for the third phase to develop an education program to foster safe fish consumption and nutrition habits in the Napo River communities. Through workshops, community members will learn healthy nutrition practices they can easily incorporate into their day-to-day life.
Although the purity of the Napo River's water is subject to upstream environmental factors out of their control, the people who depend on it can still be healthy and thrive thanks to Compassionate Eye Foundation and its partners.
Kauk Chrey and Mook Pen Schools Water and Solar Project
Kids International Development Society
Before 2013, the well near Kauk Chrey School in rural Cambodia was polluted and lacked the capacity to provide enough water to meet the area's basic needs. Just north of Siem Reap, this impoverished school is at the center of a small rice farming community. It's a safe haven for students whose parents have left to find work elsewhere because of falling crop production.
CEF funded a Kids International Development Society project to dig a deeper well with a 2500-liter water tank, powered by solar energy. It provides enough water for drinking, hygiene and irrigation of the school's vegetable garden and is now free of pollutants like arsenic and iron. Over 1,000 local residents benefit from the new well.
In 2014, because of the success at Kauk Chrey, a similar well project is being replicated at the nearby Mook Pen School. Also funded by Compassionate Eye Foundation, it will benefit approximately 350 students and an additional 650 people in the Mook Pen community.
Along with infrastructure improvements, CEF and K.I.D.S. approach education in a holistic manner at Kauk Chrey, Mook Pen and other local schools. This includes providing school supplies and bicycles for students to travel to school and a nutrition program for the malnourished. These projects not only benefit the area's young minds but will ensure a brighter future for these Cambodian communities as a whole.
Water and sanitation program
Free The Children
CEF is proud to announce that we have partnered with Craig Kielburger and his foundation Kids Can Free the Children (FTC) to help fund the Water Kiosk construction project whereby families in the Narok District of Kenya have access to clean water. Specifically, the program goals are the development of a piping network and construction of three water kiosks that will provide water to all members of a community.
These three water kiosks will be overseen by a water management committee and each community operates according to the cultural practices in the region. This kiosk program that we are funding, is an extension of their existing borehole infrastructure developed in previous projects by the FTC. The borehole system involves digging a well and installing a vertical pipe (casing) and well screen to keep the borehole from caving. This also helps prevent surface contaminants from entering the bore hole and protects any installed pump from drawing in sand and sediment. Approximate depth of these boreholes is 120 to 200 metres.
Specific stages of the project plan are:
- Development of a network of pipes which extend from the primary boreholes into the rural communities which are further afield.
- Construction of three water kiosks which are accessible to families and close to primary schools.
- Establishment, education and empowerment of a water management committee which takes ownership of the water kiosks, according to their cultural practices and current needs.
Three kiosks were completed within a year, so that families who live too far from the boreholes can benefit from this invaluable resource. By accessing a nearby source of clean water, families will experience improved health and reduced water-borne disease, allowing children and youth to attend Free The Children schools and gain a quality education. By bringing water to families instead of the other way around, girls no longer need to make long treks to collect water, and this allows them to attend school with their male counterparts and enables improved gender equality.
In a time of drought and water scarcity, this program is especially relevant and essential so that communities are less vulnerable to drought and do not need to rely on relief efforts.
Floating Clinic Boat
CEF is proud to announce that we have partnered with the Kids International Development Society (K.I.D.S.) to help fund their Mobile Marine Health Clinic project in Cambodia. K.I.D.S. is a Nanaimo, B.C. based non-profit that was founded by Rick & Adrienne Dartnell over eleven years ago. During this time, the organization has worked tirelessly to provide essential health care, family support & education services to underserved communities throughout South East Asia.
The Lake Clinic (TLC) is focused on bringing basic health care services to several isolated regions along the Tonle Sap Lake and Stung Sen River in Cambodia. Comprised of one Cambodian doctor, a nurse/midwife, a pilot/cook, and a general volunteer, the TLC team travelled by small boats to various villages along the river starting in March 2011. During that time, the Lake Clinic has managed to expand its services to eight villages & sub-villages along an 80-kilometer stretch of the Stung Sen, helping over 100 people each day. The communities located along its banks are primarily isolated farming communities, which have limited access to basic health care services.
However, with the advent of the monsoon season, the TLC team's work has been hampered by torrential rains. This made it difficult to reach many of the same villages that have come to depend on their care. Henceforth, out of their desire to continue to helping poor and isolated communities, K.I.D.S has asked CEF to support their goal of building a "mobile marine mini-clinic" that would allow them to continue their work in the Stung Sen area during the monsoon season.
CEF believes in the work that K.I.D.S. provides and has agreed to provide the necessary funding to help them purchase a locally built, pre-fabricated medical clinic to be placed on a floating platform. This "mobile marine mini-clinic" will give K.I.D.S.' TLC staff the ability to provide a clean and controlled environment for minor surgeries and procedures; greater patient privacy for physical examinations (especially for women of all ages); and a safe teaching, meeting, and lodging space for the many brave volunteers who provide care for the villagers.
Since receiving funding support from CEF in October 2011, TLC's mobile marine clinic has come to serve approximately 3000 people living in this area. Their goal is to increase their reach by providing medical services to an estimated 13,000 more people whom TLC staff could not reach before. Overall, CEF has been extremely happy and proud to have played a small part in supporting the important work that K.I.D.S. has done for the people in Cambodia.
Canadian Hunger Foundation
Compassionate Eye Foundation supports CHF(formerly Canadian Hunger Foundation) in a number of income and livelihood enterprises aimed at helping people of the world overcome chronic poverty, dependency on relief, and achieve long-term food security.
Through a generous agreement with CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) our $1,000 a month contribution was be leveraged at 29:1 to provide a total monthly contribution of $29,000. These funds will first be put to use in Bati, Ethiopia where farm equipment and animals will be provided to families headed by females to help reduce workloads and improve income diversification.
The funds will also help households build wells for clean drinking water, drip irrigation systems for crops and water systems to divert spring water from mountaintops.
Grief support program
CEF was proud to partner with The Women's Hope Education and Training committee of VIDEA, who has been supporting projects in Southern Africa since 2003. VIDEA's goals are to support projects that are serving the education and health needs of impoverished communities (particularly women and children), and this project was no exception.
The Khayelitsha Grief Support program provides quality grief support groups for children in the Khayelitsha area in Cape Town, South Africa. Grief support is provided for children whose parents have died from Aids, as well as through violence and other illnesses. With the help of caregivers and teachers, the children chosen to participate first, were the most urgent cases. This ranged from children who were exhibiting uncontrollable behavior in school, not coping with academic work as well as children who were witness to their parent's death.
The Grief Support Program began with one support group of 10 children for 8 sessions, and grew to 30 support groups by the end of 2012. These sessions:
- Allow the children to understand that they are not alone in the battle of grief.
- Equip the children with coping skills so that they can be able to grieve naturally.
- Allow them to share their loss experiences with the people they trust in life and develop their support systems.
- Connect those who are dealing with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) to the Trauma Centre in Cape Town.
Aside from helping the children of the Khayelitsha area cope with their overwhelming loss, the project is twofold as it also enables volunteers to give back to their community by becoming facilitators. With poverty and unemployment being quite severe in the township of Khayelitsha, this allows them an opportunity to gain work experience, education and self confidence. The group facilitator's have been aptly named "Rainbows".
Bringing in clean water
In the isolated village of Nueva Chicajalaj, water for its inhabitants was drawn from a hole in the ground below an old storage basin located in a nearby field.
To improve the water supply and the lives of the community's residents, Compassionate Eye Foundation funded the installation of a simple system of PVC pipes leading from a clean source further up the hill down to the community school.
Seizing the opportunity to expand on the project, volunteers working in the region raised funds to provide the school with a kitchen stove and community members provided materials to construct a kitchen. This project has taught us that no action is small when it impassions others.
Helping mothers and babies
Compassionate Eye Foundation (CEF) funds a much needed 12-month pre and postnatal program that offers education and supplies to the women of the San Marcos region. Women join the group at between three and four months gestation and exit when their babies reach the age of six months.
Services the program provides include weighing the babies every two weeks, distributing food supplies (corn, milk powder, eggs, and cooking oil) and vitamin supplements twice a month, and giving newborns a set of clothing and a blanket.
Additionally, a portion of the CEF donation is set aside for emergencies such as transportation to the regional hospital, ultrasounds, or consultations with specialists. To date, the results of this program have been healthier mothers and babies, higher birth weights for newborns, and fewer illnesses during the first six months of life.
Support for grandmothers
Through a donation from Compassionate Eye Foundation, the staff of Alianza, a Canadian Foundation, has provided support and education to a group of twenty grandmothers living on their own. The women receive a monthly delivery of staples (corn, milk, beans, eggs, sugar, and oil) and participate in workshops on topics such as hygiene, balanced diet and exercise.
Helping teens grow
Helping students aged twelve and up become better prepared for adulthood is the goal of the Compassionate Eye Foundation (CEF) funded program "Young People Accepting Responsibility".
In the villages of Chicajalaj, Tuizacaja, Los Bujes and Taltimiche, students from grades 7, 8 and 9 participate in classes covering such topics women's rights, child rights, self-esteem, relationships, and sex education. The presenters, the staff of CEF's partner Alianza, consult with the classroom teachers prior to the lessons, assess the students' knowledge and conclude with a quiz and an evaluation.
A new playground
The soil around the Bella Vista school becomes very slippery and slick during the rainy season. This significantly reduces the opportunities for the students to play outside. In November 2007 a playground area with basketball hoops and soccer nets was completed.