Ms. Sapiew is a 31-year-old farmer in Huay Phod Village, Khoua District, Phongsaly. Her family is made up of six people – herself, her husband, and their four children, one of which is a girl. Before the arrival of the Khoua Food Security Project, Ms. Sapiew had a lot of difficulty with getting water access in her household. Her children’s clothes need to be washed several times a week, so any water she was able to bring home had to be conserved. When washing the dishes, most of the water used was rainwater or collected from water vapor made from steam when cooking. Every day she had to go to the farm to work from morning to evening. After returning from working all day in the fields, she then had to get water by foot, about one hour from her house. By the time she arrived back home, it was already evening. Some days when she came back from the field, she was not able take a shower because there was no water left for personal use. When Ms. Sapiew asked her husband to get water, he couldn’t because he had to find food for the family, so she would have to take her 8-year-old son to help her. Ms. Sapiew found this tiring. She felt exhausted and frustrated with daily life.

“I felt that I don’t have time to rest because when I go to the farm, I have to get the water from far away. If we had enough water to use in my house, it would lighten my work,” she would say to her husband.

In 2023, the Khoua Food Security Project came to the village to provide households with a much needed water supply system. Ms. Sapiew was thrilled and relieved that she didn’t need to go far to get the water and to lessen her workload – and that of her children. The family can now use water for washing food and clothes, bathing, drinking, cooking, and cleaning the house. In addition, she also built a toilet for improved hygiene and waste disposal. Most importantly, the family can now grow some vegetables close to home, using seeds provided by the project and a water system ready for them to use.

Ms. Sapiew shows us her water pump with a big smile. “I am very happy and so grateful that the Khoua Food Security Project came to provide the water system to Huay Phod Village. CARE Laos has really helped reduce the labor of women and children when getting water because now there is enough water for each household,” she says.