FH works in the northern part of Cambodia which is a former stronghold of the Khmer Rouge. During the war and genocide of 1975-1979, social institutions and people who staffed them were intentionally wiped out.
Religious temples were destroyed, banks and money were burned, and 1-2 million businesspeople, school teachers and other educated Cambodians were murdered in an effort to bring the country back to “Year Zero.”
In a sense, it worked. Cambodia was brought to its knees and still is in a state of recovery. Many parents today have no education as a result of growing up without teachers, so they never learned what many might consider simple practices.
Boiling water is one practice that has produced dramatic change in many families’ health. Soin Morn’s family collects water from a water hole in the wet season and a stream in the dry season, and this water is unsafe to drink until it’s been boiled for several minutes.
The family used to experience diarrhea, typhoid and other water-borne illnesses that can kill a person, but after repeated visits from FH staff and an FH-trained health volunteer in her village, Soin Morn and her family adopted the practice of boiling to make their water safe for drinking.
The volunteer says happily, “Since Morn family drink boiled water and filtered water, her family members have good health.”