Posted on 27 Apr 23 in Health/WASH

Ban Mae La Ka is a picturesque village situated along a small river in Mae Hong Son. Whilst it is close to a larger town, the roads are unpaved and deep into the forest, meaning that during rainy season it is easily cut off and hard to travel to.

KHT provided the village with a WASH System in November as the village would struggle with clean water access, especially during dry season. Despite have a river through the village, the use of pesticides and chemicals used by farmers upstream have made the water unsafe to drink.

We use the river water to wash but we can’t drink it. In the morning before going to the fields and when we come back we have to make time to collect water, boil it and have enough to use for the family.

KHT spoke with a group of mothers from the village and discussed their concerns. They mentioned that prior to the WASH System many people in the village suffered from stomach issues, UTIs and other infections. The said many older people had to visit the hospital and this has sharply decreased since KHT intervened. They spoke of worrying for the health of their relatives and children and the responsibility they felt to ensure they were providing enough water to keep everyone healthy.

The women spoke of their long days of preparing food for the family, including water and then working in the fields for most of the day before heading back to cook and help their children. The families grow rice to eat and they also grow onions, passion fruit and corn to sell in the nearest town. Farmers from the village will often taken their crops into the town and sell to vendors who sell on to individual customers. Women are heavily involved in growing and readying these crops, meaning they labour all day and have very little time to rest.

They also spoke of having to send their high school aged children to live in dormitories in another town that had a high school. With the road too difficult to manage many times of the year, children would miss too much school if they remained in the village.

I worry that my child is not eating well enough and how they are behaving when I can’t see them but I want my daughter to be educated, unlike me. I want her to have a better life.

The mothers spoke of still teaching their children about farming and taking care of their families during their school holidays, even though they may not become farmers in the future.

Our village is very lovely and we are a community, but it is a hard life to work in the fields and we want our children to have more options.

Every village has its own challenges and environment, however we have seen the love and hard work of Karen mothers and the many ways in which they labour for their families. KHT hopes to continue supporting Karen women and girls and supporting better health, livelihoods and education for them. You can support us by donating today!