GLOBAL HANDWASHING DAY: Salesian Missions highlights clean water projects and soap donations
Projects give access to clean water and soap to people living in poverty
(MissionNewswire) Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins the international community in celebrating Global Handwashing Day 2022. The day, organized by the Global Handwashing Partnership, is celebrated each year on Oct. 15 and is dedicated to increasing awareness of the importance of hand-washing with soap.
This year’s Global Handwashing Day theme is “Unite for Universal Hand Hygiene.” It focuses on the need to accelerate hand hygiene progress and that doing so requires a collective effort among governments, researchers, institutions, businesses, advocates and donors to enact real change.
According to the World Health Organization, millions of young lives could be saved with access to bar soap and hygiene education. Pneumonia and diarrheal disease are two of the leading causes of death among children under 5 years old. Hand-washing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent these diseases.
Operating schools and programs for youth around the globe, Salesian missionaries are on the front lines assessing what youth and their families need most. Salesians are able to ensure that clean water projects happen in communities that lack water access and that soap donations make it into the hands of those living in conditions of poverty.
“Clean, safe water and access to soap are important now more than ever,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “Improving water access brings a sense of dignity to children and ensures that teachers and students are working and learning in an environment that promotes proper hygiene. This reduces the number of waterborne illnesses that can affect those in our schools, keeping them away from important study time.”
To mark Global Handwashing Day, Salesian Missions is proud to highlight programs that ensure youth have access to clean water and soap.
The Salesian parish in the town of Beayop, in the Diocese of Ebibeyín, Equatorial Guinea, has clean, fresh water thanks to the Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative.” The project provided funding for a new water well, tower and pump. The project is one of 18 planned for rural villages in the area.
The province of Kie-Ntem, in which the Diocese of Ebibeyín is located, is in Equatorial Guinea’s northeast and has a population of 263,000 people. The area is especially rural and the provincial capital Ebibeyín is 221 kilometers (approximately 137 miles) from the next largest city of Bata. In this remote, impoverished diocese, there are several parishes where the population lives without safe drinking water.
Salesians will help alleviate the crisis by increasing sanitation, improving the health of children, and supplying clean drinking water by constructing wells and cisterns. The water project in Beayop began in 2019, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a pause in construction. The project resumed at the start of 2022, and residents are grateful for this new water source.
Women and children in Salesian communities in Haiti have access to better hygiene thanks to a soap donation secured by Salesian Missions. The shipment of soap was from Eco-Soap Bank, a humanitarian nonprofit organization working to save, sanitize and supply recycled soap with hygiene education for the developing world.
The Rinaldi Foundation, the Salesian Planning and Development Office in Haiti, received the soap and distributed it. The first distribution was held on Mother’s Day to honor the mothers in the community. Salesians chose to prioritize mothers for the first distribution and included soap in the bags that were given out at church. The soap will be utilized for hand-washing, bathing, washing clothes and dishes, and other uses.
After the initial donation, soap was provided to children and older youth who are attending Salesian programs and schools including Fondation Vincent, Don Bosco Lakay OPEPB (the Little Schools of Fr. Bohnen), and the Salesian Diocesan Center of Arts and Trades (CDAM).
Students at the Don Bosco Center and Don Bosco Primary School in Rundu, Namibia, have access to clean water thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions. The project, part of the Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative,” provided a new water tank and pump to supply fresh drinking water.
The water supply at the newly opened school has been limited due to water interruptions in the town of Rundu, which has created a challenging situation. The Don Bosco Center, which includes the primary school, administration, computer training center, chapel and other youth facilities, welcomes more than 600 people each day. The Don Bosco Primary School teaches children ages 2-10 who come from conditions of poverty in their home lives. The lack of water often cancelled classes and other programs at the Don Bosco Center.
To address this crisis, funding was provided for a 10,000-liter (2,641 gallon) water tank to avoid water interruptions that often last up to two weeks. The water tank, which has a lifespan of up to 15 years and can hold two weeks’ worth of water, was constructed at the center and connects to the school’s water supply line. A new water pump is helping the school to automatically pump water in the tank, improve water pressure, and save money, time, and energy.
Villages in Vietnam have clean water access thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions. The projects, part of the Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative,” provided water purification systems and water tanks for the Hoa An Parish in Bac Giang, the Khop village and Thanh Binh Parish in Kon Tum, and the Tac Van Oratory in Tac Van.
The Hoa An Parish has a supply of fresh water for more than 1,000 people. The new water system will also ensure clean water for the 100 children at the Salesian oratory and 20 boarders from the boarding school. In Kon Tum, more than 1,147 people are benefiting from the water supply in the Khop village where there are poor families working as farmers. There are also 2,700 people benefiting in the Thanh Binh Parish.
At the Tac Van Oratory, there are 500 people in the local parish and 80 boys at the oratory who are benefiting from this new water supply. Around the community there are many poor families who make their living by fishing. Tran Van Ngoc, a fisherman, has an unstable income and is able to draw water for free instead of purchasing water canisters to provide clean water for his family.
Photos courtesy of Salesian Missions (contact for usage permissions)