Darrel and Ratana: A winning team for clean water and toilet building in Cambodia. Working at Cambodia Clean Water and Toilet Project in Siem Reap has a lasting impact on the young man who plays an important role in the promotion of WASH.
Ratana Phon attended our RPM meeting with Darrel Steer (aka Dunny Darrell) RPM member in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Darrell and Ratana specialise in providing clean water and toilets to poor communities in rural Siem Reap Province.
Ratana’s family of 9 are farmers. He recalls as a child being sick 2-3 times a week with diarrhea. As a result he missed a lot of school and his parents borrowed money to keep up with the mounting medical bills.
One day an NGO came to his village and donated a well for the 100 plus families who lived there. “I was a small kid...but one thing that made me think, how can I help people who are in need and if I can it would be the best thing in my life.”
When he grew up Ratana’s family supported him to go to university but his ambitions were dashed when the local government took possession of the family’s land. Ratana was forced to leave university and find work to help support his family.
His life changed profoundly when he met Darrel whilst he was working in Siem Reap. He started by driving and translating for Darrel but now is very involved in construction.
This was important when Darrel was in Australia over the Covid lockdown. The Clean Water and Toilet project continued under Ratana’s professional supervision. The project now has 450 toilets completed.
As Ratana shared in a recent Facebook post, “Because I have been working with him almost 5 years, I am truthful, I have become Darrel’s right hand man. I have grown. I have learned lots of things and challenges. I appreciate that now I can work with helping people. (My dream job) I won’t let you down. Orkun Thom Thom.”
Thank you for the support provided by Rotary’s World of Difference – a terrific story of Rotarians coming together to take action.