For the last few years, fourth graders from St. Francis de Sales School in Riverside have collected cans and bottles to raise money for needy Cambodians. 

The money has been used to purchase 50 water purification systems to give families from the village of Kompong Khleang easy access to clean water, a luxury they didn’t previously have. 

“[Before] they had to go down to the river and bring the water back and then boil it for purification,” said Kathy Piguet, St. Francis de Sales School’s interim principal and fourth grade teacher.

Kompong Khleang is a small floating village that depends on the tourism business, which means that COVID-19 has hurt them financially. 

Piguet brought the project to St. Francis de Sales School three years ago. It all started when a close friend of hers visited Cambodia. Piguet’s friend saw the need and spoke with her when he returned. 

“We talked about this, and I said it would be a great outreach for our fourth graders to recycle, to collect bottles and cans to recycle to earn money to buy these [water purification] systems for this village,” she said.

Piguet’s friend and another donor offered to match whatever funds that the students raised so that their impact could be doubled.

“We’re doing really well … we were able to equip the entire village with water filter systems. So, then we continued our outreach [by asking], what do you need next?” said Piguet.

After buying the water filtration systems, they then paid for some children to attend school in a neighboring village. Their next goal is to fund a school in Kompong Khleang, itself.

If you are interested in donating recyclables or money to this project, contact Kathy Piguet at

Full story at Inland Catholic Byte.