Much is studied and written about the unique aspects of the Tonle Sap Lake and its surrounding region:  its exquisite beauty; the area’s biodiversity and the unique hydrodynamics that lead to the Tonle Sap providing roughly a third of the protein (from fish) for more than half of Cambodia.  Little, however, is said about the people who live upon the lake in “floating villages” and along its shores.

They are an ethnically diverse population of Khmers, Cham, and Vietnamese who experience a life isolated from both the modern world and the progress that is happening in much of Cambodia.  Many communities are hours or even more than a full day away from any medical care or expertise.  There are over 170 floating villages throughout the lake.

Majority of the Vietnamese people living on the floating villages are refugees who do not have land in their own country or have been forced to leave.  Many of the Khmer people have had their homes taken away by the government to be replaced by commercial buildings.

Due to the large number of people living on water, the quality of the river water is extremely bad. Residence defecate and bathe within a few meters from each other.  The water is used for consumption and for cooking.  This causes a large number of different gastric disorders.  It also affects the rest of the country as the fish from this river is consumed all over Cambodia. 

The program will allow the team to hand out water filter units to families and educate them on the importance of clean drinking water and the operation of the filter units.