Watch the video to learn more about this worthy, achievable project to improve a small group of lives in a small corner of the world.
A post by Brendan O’Byrne, United States Peace Corp Volunteer, Cambodia, 2015-16
The high school where I teach in Cambodia just got a new bathroom built for them by the government. Unfortunately, the bathroom didn’t come with water. So we want to bring water to the bathrooms.
The best way to learn about the project is to watch this 3-minute video my counterpart Vanna and I made. I didn’t really have a camera or proper editing software, so please forgive any rough edges.
For more detail: There’s no running water in rural Cambodia, so water must either come from a nearby source (ponds, lakes, rivers) or be bought and driven in.
My school’s vice-principal, Vanna Sim, wants to pump water from a nearby pond into a water tank, which can then provide the bathroom with water. The initial cost for this project would pay for itself in less than two years because the school would no longer have to truck in water from the town several kilometers away.
Additionally, Vanna wants to construct a hand-washing station for students to use before re-entering the classroom. Here’s a picture of some of the students you’d be helping.
Brendan’s English class students in Cambodia.
The reason I’m asking you for money is because the school doesn’t have the funds to complete this project. There’s no money set aside in the government’s budget for sanitation projects. There are institutional difficulties surrounding this issue, and the end result is my school doesn’t have access to funds for ‘luxury’ projects, like bathrooms with running water. Other outside funding sources wanted to implement various additions or changes that I felt harmed the project. So after months of trying, I’ve decided to ask you all for help instead.
The total price tag for this system is $1,815 dollars. Vanna and I have already received quotes from builders and material stores for each aspect of the project. This information can also be found in the attached Excel file.
|Materials for pedestal||$490|
|Electric wire for pump||$25|
|Materials for handwashing station||$150|
|Construction of pedestal||$125|
|Installation of PVC pipe||$25|
|Construction of handwashing station||$50|
How I’m raising money
I’m soliciting funds through email. I’m not going to share this on Facebook (although my Dad might to his friends), or email anyone I haven’t spoken to in years, as it feels icky and wrong to bother people on social media and ask them for money.
Instead, I’ll be contacting close friends and family (like you!), and then hoping they pass it along to a couple of their friends or family members. So feel free to share this with your family or friends if you’re comfortable with that, but if you’re not that’s totally fine too.
Additionally, if you can’t or don’t want to donate, I completely understand. Most of us are recent college graduates and don’t have a bunch of money to just toss around. Give, or don’t, based on your own feelings and financial situations. Any amount is meaningful.
What happens if I get too much/too little money?
Well, I’m really hoping not to get too little money. If I end up short by a little bit, I’ll likely send another round of emails asking for a bit more. If we’re still short after that, I’ll try to make up the difference myself.
If we complete the project and have money left over, Vanna and I will spend the extra money on our library that we established at our school last year. The library has been very popular among the students, but most of our budget went to infrastructure – tables, chairs, computers, iron bars, that kind of stuff. So we have plenty of shelf space to buy more books. Here are some pictures of the library.
100% of all donations will go toward these projects. There are no additional costs, and all the money will be spent on improvements to the high school.
The library project that Brendan funded and helped to build for his students during his first Peace Corps year.
How to donate
You have a few options!
1) Google Wallet
Google Wallet is free, unlike most other online money transfer services, and you can transfer money directly over email. Sign-up only takes a couple minutes as well – all you need is a google account.
To sign up or login, visit http://wallet.google.com and sign-in with your Gmail account. You may be asked to enter payment information from a debit or credit card if this is your first time setting up an account.
When it asks who you wish you transfer money to, use my email address – firstname.lastname@example.org. Transfers should only take a few minutes.
[Note: If you want to make an anonymous donation, you can create a new google account and do this same process. But I’d rather know who you are so I can thank you properly!]
2) Square Cash
Download the Square Cash app for android or iOs. Square requires an email to sign up, and from there you just add a debit card and you can send cash directly to me using my email, email@example.com. Similar to Google Wallet.
3) Mail a check
Email me and I’ll give you my US address. My dad will make sure the money gets into my account for the project.
If you want to donate but none of these options work for you, let me know and we can try to find a solution.
Got another question?
No problem! Just reply to this email, I’ll be happy to provide any more information.
Even if you can’t donate and share, thanks for reading about the project. If you can donate and share, thanks so much for your help. We couldn’t do this without you. My students, teachers, and school really appreciate it. And so do I.
I’ll talk to you soon, and thanks again!