A day in the life of Rin Ruon

On International Women's Day we want to share with you how is a day in the life of Rin Ruon, a 34 years old woman who lives in a small village in rural Cambodia.

Rin Ruon wakes up very early and goes for a walk. Not a leisure one, but a 3 kilometers walk across the jungle to get water. She will take one or two buckets and fill them with dirty water from the river. She will carry 30 liters of water back home trying not to spill any water on the way. 

Back in her house she has to look after her 4 children while cooking Nom Krouch (Khmer sweets) to sell in the village. She will go again to collect water as she needs it for most of the tasks she will take during the rest of the day. With the water she gets in the morning she will cook rice for breakfast, and use the left over water to wash the dishes and pots and further cleaning. If there is still water left, she will water the plants but usually that is not the case, so she will go out again to collect more water.

She will spend some hours every day working in the rice field and some time feeding the ducks and hens she is raising to hopefully sell them to get some money. Between all these tasks, she will have to find some time to do work in her garden where she grows vegetables like cucumber, pumpkin and morning glory for feeding her family and also for selling in the village. She knows how important it is to have some other sources of income but with no water it is very difficult to sustain.

Her husband is the main source of income in the family. He is a construction worker, and works very hard to support Rin Ruon and their kids. He leaves early in the morning and comes back late at night to make enough money for every day. This means that Rin Ruon alone has to do a lot of work in the house and in the fields but she has no time as she has to do a lot of walking every day to bring water home. She goes 4 times or more a day to collect it because water is needed for everything she needs to do: cook, clean, water the plants, feed the animals, wash her kids and more. Can you imagine how much time she wastes going to collect water and how exhausting is it? 

Rin Ruon and her husband didn't have an education and they are struggling to get enough money to sustain their family because they cannot get well paid jobs. They don't want their kids to have the same struggles in the future so they want them to go to school. She hopes for her kids to have better opportunities in life. But although school is for free, they need money to buy the uniforms and school materials. And is not easy with 4 kids.

There are days where her kids don't go to school. Sometimes because they stay at home helping Rin Ruon in the fields or collecting water. Other times they stay at home because they are sick. The main reason why they get sick is because they drink dirty water and get diarrhoea. Rin Ruon boils water every day for drinking but on very hot days when the kids are so thirsty, it could happen that they drink non-boiled water. This is a big problem for Rin Ruon because she cannot go out and collect water for all the possible tasks that will get her some extra money. Her kids are very important for her and she will do the best she can to help them get better.

But is not just Rin Ruon struggling everyday. This is the reality of many women living in rural Cambodia. These women are balancing raising kids, finding ways to get extra money to survive, and spending hours a day collecting water.

We are working towards women empowerment in Cambodia to ensure that every woman can have the opportunity of a better life and the chance of making a difference in their families and communities. The first step on this journey is giving them clean water. It is not an easy journey but with your support and the commitment of these strong hardworking women it is possible.

You can learn about Sustainable Cambodia's water projects here. And you can contact us here if you want to know more about our work and the impact we are making in the lives of many more Cambodian women and families.


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