U Wai Lwin and Daw Myint Myint Khaing live in Inn Ma Su village in Maubin Township of Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady Region. The village is a small one with only 41 homes and 184 people, including 33 children. Only 10 families own agricultural land; the rest are daily laborers who work the fields in summer and winter, and fish during the four- to five-month rainy season. U Wai Lwin’s family is one of the poorest in Inn Ma Su with five children between the ages of 12 and 22. The oldest daughter is 20 and married, and the others are single and live at home to help run a small grocery store from which they net about 3,500 kyat ($2.50) each day. As daily workers, the men earn 5,000 kyat and women earn 3,000 kyat, which is better money; but there are only 10 to 15 work days each month for the six months of the year when they can get day labor. So, for a family of six adults, despite all their paid and unpaid work, poverty persists.
This family came to know CWS when their hand-pump well was identified as one of communal value to be renovated so the family, and many neighbors who share the well, would have easier and regular access to clean water – a small but important improvement in their hard daily lives.
CWS worked with the family to renovate their hand-pump in late 2016 and helped them install a sand filter. After these improvements, the community’s water quality is higher and can now be used for cooking and drinking as well as washing clothes and bathing. These sound like small things and maybe they are – but they are health and life-saving, too – for all the families who now use the well and hand pump with ease and confidence in the water’s safety.