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It doesn't take a drought for water to be a lifesaver. The Khmer people of Heifer's Improving Farm Households' Capacity in Long Phu District, Soc Trang Province Project in Vietnam had long suffered a critical shortage of fresh water for daily use. Like 884 million other people in the developing world, these villagers relied on unsafe sources for drinking water–in this case, nearby rivers and canals.

With the help of Heifer's Vietnam program, project participants saved money to build hand-pumped wells that provide clean water for drinking and household activities, like cooking. Local authorities from Tan Hung village supported the project wholeheartedly.
One hand-pumped well costs roughly $200. Each participating household contributed $50 and wil pay the balance with no interest within two years. In some cases, two or three families combined their money to purchase and share one well.
"I and other neighbors will no longer carry river water every day," said project participant Mrs. Kim Thi Ngon. "My family recognized the importance of a well, but we couldn't afford it, so I'm glad to receive Heifer's timely support."

Another participant, Mr. Kim Van, added, "Though we know that water from rivers and canals is dirty and harmful for our health, we had no choice. My family had limited finances to build one for our consumption, so we are now very happy to use fresh and clean water."
The first 10 hand-pumped wells have brought joy and inspiration for the entire community. Now, wanting to access fresh water for their families, even more project members are saving money to contribute to the cost of their own hand-pumped wells.
In addition to wells, this project has introduced many useful activities to the Khmer community, including trainings on agriculture and animal raising.
Original story by: Nguyen Xuan Quyen, Communication and Networking Officer, Heifer Vietnam Country Program
Information and photos by: Lam Trinh Hong Nhung, Program Officer, Heifer Vietnam Country Program

Author

Brooke Edwards

Brooke Edwards is from Little Rock, Arkansas, and started working at Heifer International in 2009 as a writer. She has a master's in social work and a bachelor's degree in psychology. She is married, a mother of two, and a wannabe urban farmer, raising her own chickens and killing most of her vegetable crops.