In the Beginning
A person must have access to clean, potable water to improve health and sanitation. People must also have a water resource for growing their crops, livestock, and fish—the source of their food and commerce.
Bad water is the cause of illness, malnutrition, and poverty. When there is good water, associated developments can occur to improve livelihoods and establish sustainable commerce."
For more information about Scott and Chris Coats, please see their biography here
Scott and Chris Coats first visited Cambodia in February 2002. They were in route from doing volunteer work in the South Pacific to finish their volunteering in Europe. They were touched by the affability of the people and the apparent needs the Cambodian people struggled against daily. In February 2003 they returned with their daughter and spent two months researching how they could help. In May 2004 Chris Coats and Founding Board member Karin Ralph, returned to meet with government officials and commit to a project. The Angkor Thom District told Coats and Ralph about the need for a primary school in the remote village of Sras. In January 2005 Scott and Chris Coats basically moved to Siem Reap to begin the school project. Upon his first trip to Sras, Scott immediately noticed the lack of water. With a simple Rotary grant from the Teton Valley Driggs, Idaho club they were able to install the village?s first two pump wells at the school site.
The Trailblazers have been working in the Siem Reap Province in northwest Cambodia since 2004. Siem Reap City is located north of Tonle Sap Lake (please see the map below ).
Chris and Scott Coats agreed to work with Sras Village as their first village project after discussions with the Siem Reap regional officials in May 2004. Siem Reap Province has some of the poorest areas in Cambodia. The Sras Village was described by the regional officials as the poorest village out of 100 in the area, with no school, no developed water resources, limited agriculture, and very limited access to medical care. Sras Village is located approximately 25 miles northwest of the city of Siem Reap and due to season rain and flooding the village is not accessible by road from September through December of each year.
In February 2006 the Coats´ were introduced to Rahul Singh, of GlobalMedic, by a local expat friend. Mr. Singh is a first responder to natural disasters, but visits Cambodia often bringing with him a team of experts to train Cambodian staff in life saving skills. Mr. Singh had been involved with the bio-sand water filter training program and donated a water filter mold to Trailblazer Foundation. The Trailblazer bio-sand water filter program was born. In the first year Scott and Chris, with the help of a few volunteers, constructed and delivered approximately 300 water filters to rural families.