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Press releases

Wiesbaden Courier from February 18, 2019


Contaminated water leads to disease

Why the association WasserZeichen e.V. organizes a benefit concert for Cambodian students


B y Sylvia Winnewisser


ERBENHEIM. The association WasserZeichen from Kostheim is committed to ensuring that people in Cambodia get clean drinking water. "In addition, I came like a virgin to a child," said Werner Helbig, first chairman of the association, at a benefit concert in favor of clean drinking water in Cambodia in the Evangelical Paulus Church in Erbenheim. During a holiday in Cambodia, the tour guide made him aware of the catastrophic conditions of the water supply in his village - contaminated water led to serious illnesses and even deaths.

Toilets, wash house and waste incineration plant

Helbig, a man of action, did not think twice. Back in Germany he founded the association, collected donations and bought an organic sand water filter for the people of the Cambodian village. "It was a huge success," reported Helbig. But that wasn't the end. By chance he got into conversation with a headmaster who reported on the bad hygienic conditions in the school: no toilets, no clean water. The result was: Many children became ill and no longer came to school - not a good prerequisite for education.

Helbig was also active here: He signed contracts with Clear Cambodia (NGO) in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh and used the donations to buy a bio water filter for the Chrey Primary School south of the city of Siem Reap, and had toilets, a wash house and a waste incineration plant built. "Everything was done within six weeks of transferring the money," reported Helbig.

He received further inquiries via Facebook from Cambodian school principals, who complained about miserable hygienic conditions and also asked for help from the Watermark Association. Therefore there was now the benefit concert under the motto "Cambodia meets Cello". A colorful evening was offered with music, a book reading and a Cambodian Apsara temple dance. As a moderator, Helbig gave brief insights into the history of the country, reported on life in the city and in the country, as he was able to get to know on many trips. He also showed photos of (former) dream landscapes and the Angkor Wat temple complex.

"Surviving under the Khmer Rouge" is the name of a book by Thabita Pench-Kranch, born in Phnom Penh, in which she describes her experiences during the reign of terror that began when she was just five years old. Corinna Groß read a few chapters from it - accompanied by cello music by the duo Leo Stoll and Elias Hauth.  The highlight was the real Apsara temple dance "Joyful Walk of the Gods", which Pench-Kranch performed to the original sounds - in a 7.5 kilogram costume.

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