News & Learning

22 Nov 2019
Stories | Laos

A Mother Dreams for her Family

In the rural village of Takdad in Xayaboury province, Laos, Mrs. Pu joined the community’s women’s organization to find ways to provide for her family and keep them healthy. She was worried about how sickly her children were getting and needed real solutions. She heard from another mother how clean drinking water would improve her children’s health, but it was not something she had convenient and regular access to.

Without piped water in their village, Mrs. Pu normally treks half a mile to the local stream each day to collect water. When she learned about the benefits of clean water, she did not hesitate to make the switch and start purchasing drinking water. However, doing so was an added expense in their weekly household budget. On top of that, she still had to make multiple trips a day to retrieve the brown, murky stream water which their family continued to use for washing and cooking.

Mrs. Pu couldn’t help but wonder if the time and money spent to get water could be better used for her family or other pursuits. She longed to devote afternoons playing with her children and helping with their lessons. She also wished to save the 20,000 kip spent on water weekly to buy them books and medicine instead. These were dreams that other mothers in the women’s organization shared with her and, in them, she found her allies. When they all heard of East Meets West’s (EMW) plans to introduce a water system in Takdad, they came together to support the program and became instrumental in convincing the rest of the village of the good it would bring them.

Through a partnership with the Laos PDR Department of Water Supply and with the support of KOICA and charity: water, EMW is bringing clean water to Takdad village’s 3,428 residents. What once seemed unattainable for Mrs. Pu and mothers like herself—for their families to grow healthy and happy—is becoming more real every day.

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At the heart of our programs are strong partnerships with government, private sector, civil society groups, and local communities. We also implement learning and feedback strategies to strengthen our approaches to promoting gender and socially inclusive WASH practices in our partner communities.