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Thanks to Mayor Bill Bogaard and the United Nations Association of Pasadena & Foothill, the cause of ‘waterless farmers of Sen Sok’ was presented to the Pasadena Community.

As part of the commemoration of the 64th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in order to introduce ‘water’ as the incoming theme, the event focused on the human impact of water.

With special thanks to Hadiara Diallo for presenting the “Wells Bring Hope Project” working in West Africa. Hadiara shared her own experience from the field, and the story of how Gil Garcetti was moved by how much a difference could be made with water.

The event highlighted the fact that while Cambodia and West Africa may be two very different places, the challenges and opportunities relating to water remain the same and their impact on people’s lives remains just as crucial.

Water as a human right? While the actual declaration does not contain any specific to reference to access to water as a fundamental right, the United Nations has emphasized its importance towards the achievement of human rights, everywhere.

Community First also extend our most sincere thanks to Pasadena Police Chief Philip L. Sanchez for his continued support of international outreach in the community through the United Nations Association (UNA); to Mrs. Rhonda Stone of City Hall ; and to Sonia Amin from UNA PAsadena & Foothill Chapter.

 (Picture above, from left to right: Pasadena Police Chief Philip L. Sanchez, Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard and CFI Executive Director Pierre H. Mainguy, photo credit: Sonia Amin, United Nations Association Pasadena & Foothill Chapter)

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Sen Sok Water Campaign.  Bringing clean water to 9,000 people though partnership with Rotary District 5300.

November 2012 marked the start of the Sen Sok Water Campaign, in which Community First Initiatives began to drill deep water wells into the 16 villages that form the larger conglomeration of Sen Sok in northwestern Cambodia. When the project was completed a year later in November 2013, the villagers of Sen Sok had access for the first time to a clean, healthy and sustainable source of water.

A large part of the success of the campaign can be attributed the Rotary Club of District 5300 in Pasadena, California. The 200 plus members of Pasadena’s Rotary Club pulled together during an annual Gala at the Valley Hunt Club in Pasadena to successfully raise $25000 for the drilling of 16of wells, one for each village. Upon completion of the project, Sen Sok and its population of nearly 10,000 villagers are served by the new wells.

Community First - Hand Cranked Water Well

Each well is able to support villagers for many years to come, particularly because of the care that went into the preparation of the drilling. Instead of blindly choosing drilling locations, Pierre and the rest of the team at Community First consulted with both the locally-hired drilling contractor as well as the villagers to decide upon the locations containing the best quality supplies of water. Villagers contributed land and well as any construction materials they could provide and the drilling contractor did the rest. To read more about the details of the wells, click here:

The impact on Sen Sok and the lives of the people living there cannot be understated. The transition from water sourced from hand-dug pits like the one seen in the picture below, to the well water immediately reduced the number of diseases. Without having to walk many kilometers to source water, villagers can now focus more time on maintaining their rice fields and other crops.

Community First - Hand Dug Water Pit 1

With the company of Rotarian John Whaley, who is also Chairman of the Board of Community First, we returned to Sen Sok in July of 2014 to get an update. The details of our return trip can be found in an upcoming blog post.

We cannot thank the Pasadena Rotarians enough for their support, and we are excited to continue to work together to impact the lives Cambodian villagers in life-changing ways.

The five-part documentary series on the Sen Sok village can be viewed here:


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