Our story? It begins in the Netherlands in 2009. It is the story of Joost and Michiel, two young students who decided to cycle from the Arctic to the Antarctic on bamboo bicycles. Their idea? To prove that sustainable solutions are possible to solve such a crucial development issue as a lack of access to clean and safe water.
Their gamble paid off: their bamboo bikes held up during their 30,000 kilometre journey, showing that the quality of this natural material is on par with aluminium, iron or carbon. But their success went further; they encountered many initiatives during their travels, recorded testimonials on the effectiveness of public water policies and systems of water purification, and at the end of their record-breaking attempt they had managed to raise enough funds to finance various humanitarian projects around the world.
This story then continues with a meeting with another student, this one French, on Antarctica. At the same time that this student, Theo, had realized his dream of setting foot and learning from global warming on the White Continent he had quickly found his next mission.
Amazed by the actions of Joost and Michiel, Theo offered to continue their work, and turn Cycle for Water into a movement that gives everyone dedicated to contribute to the cause of water conservation and sustainable development the possibility to do so.
Theo quickly found his buddy Simon willing and able to join him in this journey, a West to East expedition, from France to the other side of the globe... New Zealand!
Both share a passion for nature and its preservation, and they are now seeking your help today.
Today we want to get YOU involved in the adventure, by helping us raise funds for those who are most in need of access to safe water; a basic human right and one of the core Sustainable Development Goals the world intends to meet by 2030.
With limited water purification infrastructure in Thailand we need to work together with professionals in the field, who give their time and energy to the development of their projects. The project we are raising funds for is carried out by the HOAT Foundation, with whom we have a close relationship, and will help to change the lives of nearly 1,040 children in rural Thailand.
Your intrepid cyclists
Théo Rohfritsch, a 24 years old big dreamer, lover of open spaces, and crazy fundraiser for sustainability, is the only French student to have participated in the International Antarctic Expedition 2012 with Sir Robert Swan O.B.E and 2041. It is also by meeting with Joost and Michiel, the founders of Cycle for Water, that after completing his studies in Corporate Social Responsibility, his ambition was born to make Cycle for Water a movement!
Simon Valdenaire, a 26 years old enthusiastic who shares a full passion for sustainable development, traveler and entrepreneur, has been involved with pugnacity in the creation of a student network for sustainable development, SENSD, and continues to persevere in accompanying small and medium businesses getting more responsible!
Our action with HOAT
The HOAT foundation, based in the Netherlands, is active in the rural Northeast Thailand, named Isaan, the poorest part of the country.
The Foundation supports the installation of rainwater harvesting and purification systems but also well- and surface water purification systems at rural schools in this region.
Over 3000 children have already benefited from the help of the Foundation, thanks to among others the action of Joost & Michiel. It is a bond of trust we have tied with this organization, through the seriousness and continuity of our collaboration.
We visited in March 2016 each of the schools selected by the foundation and attested firsthand the drinking water needs and deficiencies.
State of play: In this region of Thailand, mostly composed of farmers, water resources are used for the culture of rice, cassava, sugar cane and eucalyptus.
The population living in this area has always been dependent on rainwater as the best choice for drinking water.
As in the rest of the country, population increase, urbanization, agricultural and industrial expansion are causing degradation of the quality of water supplies. The lack of regulations on the exploitation of groundwater is resulting in an over-exploited stock of water resources, causing soil depletion.
The water crisis in Thailand is accentuated by severe flooding during the monsoon period, as well as major droughts the rest of the year.
In order to ensure constant access to potable water to the population, water must be stored in concrete "Water Tanks". The rain water is collected by a system of roofs and gutters.
This system has many loopholes in its ability to maintain adequate and potable water quality.
It has many pathogenic elements caused by the presence of animal faeces (birds, cats, rats and reptiles) or decomposing animals that drowned in the tanks. They can also promote the proliferation of mosquitoes and other pests.
Recognizing this, the Foundation Hoat acts in cooperation with the countries most affected by beneficiaries of water deficiency: schoolchildren.
The links between access to water and education are more intertwined than it seems. Indeed, in a region where only half of schools have access to decent sanitation, it is so much risk that young girls leave school before the age of puberty.
The boys also see their limited future without a stable supply of drinking water, decisive criterion for their health and therefore the success of their studies.
A lack of clean water increases school absenteeism of its students, and indirectly increases poverty in a given region.
The Foundation Hoat breaks this vicious circle, building the infrastructure and encouraging children to bring drinking water from school to their homes.
Let's do this!
So far, the Hoat Foundation provided water purification systems in more than 13 schools, allowing more than 5,000 children having access to safe and clean drinking water.
The project involves the supply of drinking water in 4 schools in this region. Three of them will be installed as being rain water harvesting and purification . The fourth, being unable to capture water from the rain, must use a system of purification of well water. Therefore, more costly, involves a more complex filter system cleaning the chemical elements from contaminated soil water.
The names of the schools are given below:
-Ban Tung Wang, ground water (well water) for 416 children
-Ban Ta Ma, rain water harvesting for 168 children
-Ban Sa waay Ta ngone, rain water harvesting for 188 children
-Ban Nong Kab rainwater harvesting for 211 children
The total project cost is around € 9,000.
The project will start about two months after the end of the crowdfunding campaign, ie in June. Each school requires about three weeks of work. We therefore consider the end of the project to be in September.
A message from Ruben, the founder of HOAT
"My name is Ruben van Beek,
Originally from the Netherlands but I live more than 12 years in Thailand.
Together with my wife Sriya, I founded in 2007 a foundation with the name “HOAT”.
In those days when I arrived for the first time in this poor countryside, I wondered if there was something we could help the local peole with, in order to get a little bit better life.
It didn't seem fair to me when I saw the situation of the local people while keeping in mind where I come from we can drink the water straight from the faucet and most of us take that for granted. While, us, in the west flush our toilets with drinking water, the children here often drink water with traces of feces in it...
Our foundation installs water purification systems in rural schools of which you can find more on our website: www.Hoat.nl
Our work was honored by visits of collegues from all over the world, reports in Thai, Dutch, and Chinese newspapers, magazines and TV.
In september 2009 we received an award from the governor of the province Buriram where we are located.
Clean water....Children first! Why? Because they don't have a vote in this they just depend on us, adults."