BRAZIL: Student wins international water prize
Salesian student wins Stockholm Junior Water Prize for his water quality project
(MissionNewswire) Gabriel Fernandes, a 17-year-old student from Parque Dom Bosco, won the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, an international prize created in 1997. Every year thousands of bright young minds committed to water conservation and other sustainability issues compete for the honor.
Fernandes, assisted by Professor Fernanda Poleza, created a low-cost solution that improves water quality by retaining plastic particles with a special filter. The created solution will be adopted by the Itajaí Water Company within the Semasa Water Treatment Station in Brazil.
UN-Water estimates that worldwide 2.2 billion people are living without access to safe water. One in four primary schools has no drinking water service, with students using unprotected water sources or going thirsty. In addition, UN-Water notes that more than 700 children under 5 years of age die every day from diarrheal disease linked to unsafe water and poor sanitation.
“Water is essential for life, and it has become a priority that Salesian programs around the globe have access to safe, clean water for the health and safety of those we serve,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “This young student has worked hard in school to learn skills that will help in the global fight for clean water access. We applaud him for his project and know that it will have an impact within his community.”
Salesian missionaries in Brazil provide education, workforce development and social services throughout the country. Missionaries help to meet the basic needs of poor youth, including street children, and provide them with an education and life skills to gain employment, break the cycle of poverty and lead productive lives.
Brazil has one of the strongest economies in Latin America and is an important agricultural and industrial power in the region. Just over 15 percent of Brazilians live in poverty, with the majority living in the rural northeast of the country, according to the World Bank. While Brazil is making positive changes, there are still large gaps between the poor and the rich, and issues of income inequality and social exclusion remain at the root of poverty.
Inequalities also exist in access to education and educational efficiency. These inequalities are greatest for children and youth who are poor, live in rural areas or who have an incomplete compulsory education. Salesian missionaries working with poor youth and their families in Brazil develop programs and provide youth opportunities for furthering their education and skills.
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Salesian Missions – Brazil
World Bank – Brazil