Kellyville High School students have established a charity to make water drinkable for a community in Laos, inspired by an assignment on water-borne diseases.
Abhi Murthi, Abena Brefo and Sathees Jeyasothy raised $200 through their charity Transform to buy LifeStraws — a water-filtering device — after investigating the impact of malaria and giardiasis through a project-based learning elective for year 9 students.
Sathees said he researched the diseases, while his fellow group members looked at drinking water problems around the world to create a bigger picture of the impact of the diseases on mankind.
"Malaria is a disease that you can try preventing but that you can get easily," he said.
"Each year 200 million people can contract [intestinal parasite] giardiasis, while 300 to 500 million contract malaria.
"The LifeStraw filters 99.9 per cent of bacteria in water, therefore you can drink it safely.
"Because mosquitoes are born in standing water like uncovered water tanks and poor drainage areas, if we could eliminate this kind of stuff we could potentially be saving millions of lives."
Malaria is caused by a parasite transmitted by the bites of infected mosquitoes.
It multiplies in the liver and infects red blood cells, disrupting the blood supply to vital organs.
World Health Organisation figures show reported malaria deaths in the western Pacific region, which includes Laos, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Japan and 32 other countries, have dropped by more than 80 per cent to 460 between 2000 and 2012.
The 15-week project and others were presented to a group including Sydney Water and Hills Council representatives in June.