Kyarn Khin Migrant Community Bio-Sand Filter Project – Thailand

This is a project designed to open up access to clean filtered water for consumption and daily use by a community of over 60 Burmese migrants living and working in the border town of Mae Sot, Thailand. By using a simple technology with easy-to-find materials, this project is a great investment towards reducing disease and improving the quality of life for the families involved.

Kyarn Khin Migrant Community Bio-Sand Filter Project - Thailand

Community Background
Kyarn Khin community is located a short distance from Wat Sakin village next to the Moei River in Mae Sot district, Thailand. The community was established more than ten years ago. There are 14 households and 64 people in the community. The majority of the population is Burmese with a small Karen minority. The community is a mix of Buddhists and Christians. The primary language is Burmese, with a minority of Karen speakers.

They are day laborers working on their landowner’s farm, for which they earn 120 Thai Baht ($3.96USD) per day. The community has no toilets, running water, or electricity. Very few people in the community have legal documents or work permits, so the landowner takes responsibility for their security. If they want to go to the market they go by boat to Myawaddy, the town across the river in Burma. Kyarn Khin has no school of its own, but several children over ten years old attend a nearby Burmese migrant learning center.

Problem Statement
The people living in Kyarn Khin community do not have access to sufficient drinking or cooking water, especially during the rainy season. All of their cooking water comes directly from the river. Sometimes the landowner brings several bottles of drinking water, but it is not enough for the entire community so they continue to drink and cook with water from the river. In the rainy season, the river floods and they use water from a well, which takes 15 minutes to reach on foot. Even so, the well water is not clean.

Due to the lack of clean water, the community reports high rates of skin disease, diarrhea and dizziness. During a needs assessment visit, one community member was in the hospital with a kidney problem that he developed from consuming the river and well water. Furthermore, the few students who are able to attend school often miss class due to diarrheal illnesses. There is no clinic in the community so when people are sick or injured they have to travel to Mae Tao Clinic in Mae Sot, which takes time and money.

Project Plan
To solve these problems, the community leaders, land owners, community members, and a group consisting of RPCV Mark Cox and students from Wide Horizons School, will construct small bio-sand water filters for each house. Wide Horizons students will provide a training on how to build, use, and maintain the filters and then the people of Kyarn Khin will build the filters with the support of the group. Mark will supervise and manage this project activity.

Kyarn Khin Migrant Community Bio-Sand Filter Project - ThailandThis project will increase access to clean, drinkable water for the entire community. This will lower the occurrence of diarrhea and skin disease, allowing people to save their money on visits to the clinic, and increasing students’ learning prospects.

Water Charity funds will be used to purchase materials, including pipe, fittings, fixtures, and plastic barrels.

Community participants will provide additional materials obtained from the river, including, large stones, medium stones, small stones, course sand, and fine sand.

Counterpart Background
Wide Horizons School (WH) is located in Mae Sot Township, Tak province, Thailand. The program is under World Education, Inc., supported by USAID and DCA (Danish Church Aid) since 2006. The program provides advanced English and project management training for 24 students from different states and ethnic groups in Burma.

Mark Cox, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from Thailand Group 120, finished his PC service in 2010 and has been working as Project Manager for Khom Loy Development Foundation ever since. He previously successfully completed the Pa Taan Daai Bathroom Project – Thailand during his service as a Peace Corps Volunteer. As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, he proceeded to complete the Ban Huay Lue Luang Bathroom Project – Thailand and the Future Garden School Water Project – Thailand.

Please donate for this project by clicking on the Donate button below. Any contributions in excess of the amount of the project will be allocated to other projects directed by Mark and/or projects of other PCVs in Thailand.

This project has been finished. To read about the conclusion of the project, CLICK HERE.