As a nation that has endured one of the most horrific genocides in recent history, South East Asia is a land rich with hope and promise. Climbing out of despair brought by the Khmer Rouge in the mid 1970’s, this resilient nation is energetically pressing forward to give its 14.8 million people a brighter tomorrow.
Much progress has been made, specifically, in the area of health care. Life expectancy has changed drastically from 20 years ago when it was 50 years, to the current numbers placing it in the low 60’s. Child mortality rates have dropped from 115 deaths per 1000 live births in 1993, to 54 per 1000 as of 2009. They are changing and adopting principles that are making them stronger and it is encouraging to see.
Unfortunately, most of these changes are taking place in or near population centers leaving rural villages behind. Part of our goals in working in South East Asia is to work in outlying villages that have yet to benefit from the progress and development seen there. Simple ideas such as catching and storing rain water during the rainy season can change many families lives—especially the children. Simple sand filters remove over 99% of bacteria and most viruses while being very low cost and affordable to most families.