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INDIA: Girls living in hostel at Don Bosco Junior College have access to clean, safe water

(MissionNewswire) Girls living in a hostel at the Don Bosco Junior College in the town of Diphu, the largest administrative headquarters of the Karbi Anglong district in the state of Assam in India, have access to clean water thanks to a new water project funded by a Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative.” In Diphu, piped water is available to only a very few residences.

The Don Bosco Junior College campus, which is 10 kilometers from the town, had been struggling to provide adequate water for washing, drinking, cooking and laundry. Reliance on hired water tankers was proving to be expensive. With funding, Salesian missionaries have been able to drill a successful bore well and offer piped water throughout the building. Piped drinking water is now available from a water purifier as well.

This new water access has decreased water shortages, the long wait for the water tanker, the mad rush for drinking water and the reluctance to wash in shallow open wells. The hostel is home to 95 girls but with the assurance of an adequate water supply, the hostel capacity can be increased to 150 girls in time for the new school year.

“Having access to clean water is essential for the health and safety of those we serve around the globe,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Improving water and sanitation facilities for girls in India brings a sense of dignity and ensures that teachers and students are working and learning in an environment that promotes proper hygiene and has safe drinking water. This reduces the number of waterborne illnesses that can affect those in our schools, keeping students away from important study time.”

With more than 1.3 billion people, India’s growing population is putting a severe strain on the country’s natural resources. According to Water.org, close to 77 million people do not have access to safe, clean water and 769 million have no sanitation services. Most water sources throughout the country are contaminated by sewage and agricultural runoff.

While India has made some progress in the supply of safe water, there remain gross disparities in safe water access across the country. The World Bank estimates that 21 percent of communicable diseases in India are related to unsafe water with diarrhea alone causing more than 1,600 deaths daily. Access to proper sanitation is extremely poor, particularly in rural areas where only 14 percent of the population has access to a latrine. In addition, hand washing is not commonplace, which leads to an increase in the spread of disease.

Salesian missionaries across India are dedicated to ensuring that access to safe water is a priority in Salesian-run programs and schools and in the communities in which they operate.

India has the world’s fourth largest economy but more than 22 percent of the country lives in poverty. About 31 percent of the world’s multidimensionally poor children live in India, according to a new report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. A multidimensionally poor child is one who lacks at least one-third of 10 indicators, grouped into three dimensions of poverty: health, education and standard of living.

India’s youth also face a lack of educational opportunities due to issues of caste, class and gender. Almost 44 percent of the workforce is illiterate and less than 10 percent of the working-age population has completed a secondary education. In addition, many secondary school graduates do not have the knowledge and skills to compete in today’s changing job market.



Salesian Missions – Clean Water Initiative

Water.org – India

World Bank – India

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