Truck maker marks 55 years in Thailand with 'water for life' project
Thais have been familiar with the Isuzu brand for nearly six decades, but few know its deep association with water, which has inspired a nationwide clean drinking water project.
Launched last year as the firm’s latest corporate social responsibility programme, the “Isuzu Gives Water for Life” project marks the truck maker’s 55th anniversary in Thailand.
To celebrate, it aims at providing clean drinking water to schools nationwide. In the first year the groundwater system and water station building programme was introduced in six schools with over 600 students, all of whom have suffered from diseases linked with unclean water.
According to Hiroshi Nakagawa, president of Tri Petch Isuzu Sales, which engages in the manufacture and sale of passenger trucks in Thailand, “Isuzu” is the name of the renowned river flowing through the holy “Ise” Grand Shrine in Japan.
“Hence, the 18 Isuzu Group companies in Thailand and Isuzu dealers in each region have initiated the new CSR activity for the schools in various provinces facing clean water problems,” Hiroshi said. The problems facing schools include lack of the water and water contaminated with various substances, such as limestone and rust that cannot be drunk. The “Isuzu Gives Water…for Life” Project will provide clean water for the schools by setting up the groundwater systems and water stations as well as improving the landscape for hygienic purposes,” he said.
The project is being carried out in association with the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry's Department of Groundwater Resources. It was successfully implemented in six schools in 2013, starting with Ban Huay Takhan School in Chiang Dao district, Chiang Mai.
In March, 300 students were introduced to clean drinking water. Many, from kindergarten level to Matthayom 3, as well as villagers have been diagnosed with kidney stones due to limestone-contaminated water. The rate of this disease is the highest in the district.
In Dan Chang district, Saraburi, students at Ban Lawa Wangkwai School – one of 23 schools selected for His Majesty the King's scholarship programme in 2012-- also suffered from limestone-contaminated water. Rainwater was stored but it remained non-hygienic and insufficient.
Ban Kaew Mathee School is located on high ground in the northeastern province of Loei. Its 123 students had difficulties in pumping up water and had no drinking water-making system. Money was collected from all students to buy drinking water.
The 227 students at Ban Dan Load in Pattalung experienced rust-contaminated water before the drinking water system was installed in October. All students had to bring their own drinking water or buy bottled water at the school.
In November, the project reached Ban Nongrai in Rayong, to hbelp 153 elementary-level students. Though not far from Bangkok, the school lacked clean drinking water because of heavy sediment and had to buy small water filters.
The Isuzu project ended the year with the installation at Ban Phayapipak in Chiang Rai, where 154 students did not have enough water. Each year, rainwater was stored for drinking and for over 20 years, the school and the community, suffered from a severe shortage, leading at times to the evacuation of households to other areas.
The project has won support from dealers nationwide and employees have helped repaint buildings and lay tiles.
When the task was done, a celebration party was held and students were treated to lunch and enjoyed shows from entertainment celebrities. Each school was also awarded a donation of Bt50,000 to help finance student lunches as well as other school projects. Isuzu dealers also provided educational funds and sports equipment.
The Isuzu group is committed to the project until water contamination is no longer a problem to any school in Thailand.
“We hope that the “clean water” from this project can sustainably improve the quality of life for students, teachers and those in the nearby communities,” Nakagawa said.