Water - an everyday necessity
The Keng Zhen Central Primary School is one of more than 100,000 rural schools in China. As with many other similar schools, the school is located in a geographically remote and challenging area where access to fresh water is limited.
“Our school is located in the mountainous area which makes access to fresh water even more difficult. Fresh water is only available in the valley which means that our teachers need to walk down to the valley to get fresh water and carry it back to the school,” says Mr. Zhang Jiangong, the principle of the Keng Zhen School.
Images: The Keng Zhen Primary School was established in 1952. The school is located in the Jiaxian County, about 550 kilometer north of Xi’an, the capital of the Shaanxi province.
The school has pumped poor-quality water from underground since there is no water supply system in the town. Furthermore, due to the saline soil the underground water tastes bitter and salty.
New water filters for cooking and drinking
As part of its community programs, Valmet decided to address the challenge of fresh water and provided new water filters for the Keng Zhen Central Primary School to ensure the availability of fresh water for cooking and drinking at the school.
The collaboration between Valmet and the Keng Zhen School begun in January 2015, when Valmet made its first visit to the Jiaxian County. Valmet has been involved in the project since the beginning by carrying out water quality tests by its experts from the Xi’an site and choosing the equipment provider.
Images: New water filters installed in the school canteen (left) and water comparison unfiltered vs. filtered water (right).
A change that feels and tastes
Shortly after the installation work, Valmet’s team from Wuxi and Xi’an travelled back to Jiaxian to see how the filters work in practice.
“Our target was to address one of the daily challenges of the school. Availability of fresh water being a key concern in the area directed our final decision making. I am very glad to see that with the new water filters we were able to really respond to this challenge and make a concrete improvement in the Keng Zhen Primary School,” says Wang Hongmei, Marketing Communications Manager at Valmet China.
“The water tests indicated that the water quality and hardness were previously far from the national standards. Considering also the impurities found in the water, I am confident that the new filters will have a positive impact on the wellbeing of the students and teachers at the school.”
Image left: Li Anna, a fifth-grade student draw a picture said: “I tasted the water from the filter this afternoon and it tastes sweet. I draw this picture to thank Valmet: Water is the source of life.”
The project also included a service agreement to ensure proper functionality of the equipment. In addition to the water filters, Valmet donated second-hand computers to the students and promised to provide IT support via the internet.
Getting involved in local communities
“The project is a good example of the initiatives we hope to promote in local communities. Besides our daily business operations we support selected programs relating to science, research, education, environmental protection, nature conservation and youth activities,” says Xie Daorong, Vice President, China Operations.
“Back in 2008, Valmet China and all its employees donated for the rebuilding of two schools which were damaged during Wen Chuan earthquake. Our recent activities in Jiaxian are a continuation on this path to show respect and care to the communities around us.”