Surayati (then 19) and her mother, Norisah used to walk three hours and carry 16 buckets of water daily from their village well for their family’s use. The groundwater reeks an unbearable odour. Yet, the family has no choice but to drink the well water – their only source of water. Their village, Kampung Terubing 2 in Pahang had neither piped water nor electricity supply, putting a damper on their hopes of embarking on farming activities. This is the sad reality faced by many Orang Asli communities in Malaysia.
According to Malaysia’s Department of Statistics, 53% of Orang Asli communities do not have access to piped water. Besides lack of access to clean water and sanitation, the Orang Asli, like other underserved communities in Malaysia, are at higher risk of waterborne and water-washed diseases.
Infant mortality is reported to be double the national figure while parasitic infections are as high as 90% in certain Orang Asli communities. It has been identified that the lack of access to a continuous, clean water supply is the key contributor to the problem of household food insecurity among these communities.
Recognising clean water as a basic human right, Malaysia’s government and public sector are committed to continuous efforts to ensure that all rakyat have access to this basic necessity. As we celebrate Malaysia Day together this year, let us take note that besides the main infrastructure provided by the public sector, addressing these far-reaching water issues also requires the support of the private sector for synergy.
Since 2017, Coway Malaysia’s CSR initiative – Happy Water Project has been an oasis for the country’s Orang Asli communities. It is, in fact, the first water purifier company to embark on such a long-term community effort.
Now, in its fourth instalment, Coway, as a Life Care Company continues its efforts in providing clean and safe water to the communities in need across the country. By the end of 2020, Coway’s Happy Water Project will benefit a total of about 700 Orang Asli families! Despite the challenges, Coway remains committed and on track to achieve its five-year target of ensuring 1,000 Orang Asli families are given access to clean water by the end of 2021.
Today, Coway supplies household appliances to over 1.5 million homes across Malaysia and endeavours to bring ‘Life-Changing Water’ to all Malaysians. With the Happy Water Project, the company is serious about its responsibility and mission to safeguard the basic human necessity, while ensuring a continuous, clean supply of water.
Coway’s efforts are aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainability Development Goal 6 which emphasises the importance of clean water and sanitation. This will ensure that more families, like Surayati and her family who had received a similar facility from Coway, will be able to benefit and enjoy access to clean water and ensure their families are kept safe from water-borne diseases.
As a global business organisation, Coway strongly believes in making a positive impact on communities in which they operate. The company is addressing the issue of water scarcity and water poverty which is not unique to Malaysia as it affects more than 40% of the global population. These numbers are predicted to escalate with increasing global temperatures.
For the third consecutive year, Coway Malaysia is partnering with Global Peace Foundation Malaysia, empowering each Orang Asli family through its Water, Sanitisation and Hygiene (WASH) Training programme. The programme includes activities to promote proper handwashing, teeth-brushing, and a healthy diet.
The public may also contribute to the Happy Water Project by joining Coway Virtual Run: Change The Game, scheduled from 1 November to 29 November this year. The public can run for a cause as RM10 from each participant’s registration fee will be donated to the Happy Water Project. The run will present an interesting gamification twist for runners who will earn achievement badges through the course of the virtual race.
Kindly log on to www.coway.com.my/happywaterproject for more information about Happy Water Project and check out Coway Virtual Run via www.cowayrun.com.my
Picture by Chris Abney