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First Village Benefits From Mega Water and Sanitation Global Grant

The Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC) and the Rotary Club of Fig Garden (Fresno) have just received a US$330,000 (11,500,000 Baht) Global Grant from The Rotary Foundation to provide clean water and flush toilets and showers to 21 forest villages in Northern Thailand populated by indigenous groups like the Lahu, Karen, Akha, Lawa, and Lisu hill tribes.

We will construct these facilities over the next three years with our partner, the Chiang Mai-based Integrated Tribal Development Foundation (ITDF). We began our work in April in the Santisook Yellow Lahu village in a remote area of Chiang Rai Province. The grant will cover all costs for sustainable village water supply systems, toilets and bathing facilities for all the homes. The villages we will serve do not currently have reliable sources of clean water, and they do not have their own toilets and bathing facilities. Some are still using shared pit toilets. This project will reduce infant mortality and waterborne disease in our villages and improve everyday life for thousands of people!

What follows are some views of our first village and the start of our project work:

Our CMIRC team from left to right: Foundation Chair Roger Lindley, Video Team Leader John Hulme, Past President Dylan Thomason, Project Secondary Contacts Patrick Desloge and President Viki Thomason, Project Primary Contact John Schorr, ITDF Director Mike Mann, ITDF Project Supervisor Tawan.

This was our home in Santisook.

Local kids came out to greet us.

This is a typical home in Santisook Village.

This is how villagers used to bring water to the village.

Building the water storage tank that will supply water to the village after it passes through a filtering system using local materials. Lives will be changed!

But where will the water come from? The source is a natural spring deep in the forest above the village, about 1 km down this path.

Mike Mann of ITDF is arriving at the source.

Building the retention pond at the source. Piping is all downhill, and the power source is gravity - all the way. No motors, fuel, or pumps are required. It is a very sustainable system. Some of ITDF’s village water systems have been operating for 25 years, or more.

Fifty-five people live in the Santisook Village, and at least half of the adults are doing on-the-job training, so there is a complete understanding of how the system works and how to maintain it. There is still much to do, including trenching and laying pipe for the almost 3 km to the village storage tank.

ITDF and CMIRC represented here by Mike and John, are very happy about the progress made in the water system.

Now for the toilets!

This grandmother is the first beneficiary of the new toilet and sanitation systems. There are 13 households in Santisook Village. All will receive toilets.

So, we are on our way thanks to the efforts and support of The Rotary Foundation, dozens of Rotary Clubs (see their list below), and hundreds or perhaps even thousands of Rotarians worldwide! We are improving lives one village at a time! There is much to do, but as Mike Mann of ITDF says: It all starts with water.

This project would not have been possible to launch without the generous support of the following Rotary clubs:

Thank you all!


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