Virginie enrolled for a year with the association “Enfant du Mekong” (Children of the Mekong) to be in charge of the 1st class of a student group in Phnom Penh. The association gave 17 students the opportunity to pursue secondary studies Lo is one of them. A few weeks after Virginie’s arrival, Lo is diagnosed with lung cancer; thanks to a great solidarity chain managed by Virginie, he is brought to France, operated on and spends three months recovering from surgery. He then goes back to Cambodia, strongly affected by what he went through, continues his engineering studies and comes back to France to finish them at the ENGRF.
In 2003, he is offered the opportunity from a major French group to live in China. Strengthened by his previous experiences, he refuses, goes back to Cambodia, with the will to help his compatriots, particularly on the question of water access with which he was faced when still a child. Before leaving, he met with Virginie’s farther who invented, for one of his friends, a prototype of a small solar-powered purification station. The idea of testing this solution in Cambodia to purify water is born.
Virginie talks about Lo’s project to François Jacquenoud with whom she spent many years at Accenture and it is together that they decide to start this adventure.
In 2004, 3 prototypes made in France are installed in 3 Cambodian villages. 3 years will be necessary to finalize the model and develop the distribution system. In 2008, the model is ready for deployment.
The belief in supporting a social business model that is unique, pertinent and built to last, rather than as a punctual response to an emergency unites all active participants to the development of 1001fontaines, founders, members of the board, those employed and those volunteering, in France and abroad: