INDIA: Salesian Missionaries Begin Construction Project for New Bathroom Facilities at St. Joseph School for Children
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries working at the Don Bosco St. Joseph School for Children in Ghanaur, a town in the Patiala district in the state of Punjab, India, have begun a construction project to update and improve facilities at the school making it more accessible to its more than 540 students. Currently, the school’s bathroom facilities are dilapidated, out-of-date and insufficient to accommodate the students and faculty. The school is in the process of raising funds to complete the work.
Established in 2005, the Don Bosco St. Joseph School for Children was brought under Salesian oversight in 2013. Since then, the school has been undergoing major renovations to accommodate its growing student population. Situated on the periphery of a large village, the school was created to serve poor students whose parents could not afford traditional school fees. It offers a full range of academic classes as well as recreational programs. Each year, the student population grows as more and more area families require access to affordable education.
Due to its growing population, sanitation has been a major concern at the school and will be addressed by the recent construction project which will provide separate bathroom facilities for male and female students. To date, a well has been dug and the purchasing of materials and digging of pits are underway. Once enough funds are raised to complete the project, construction of the bathroom buildings will begin.
“This project will greatly impact Salesian students and provide them better access to safe drinking water and water for washing their hands,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “We expect this project will reduce the number of children who become sick due to lack of proper hygiene and safe water.”
Salesian missionaries involved in the project hope to help families save on medical expenses for treating children who develop water related diseases and illness due to contaminated water. Once construction is complete on the new facilities, children will no longer have to wait in long lines to use the bathroom and can turn their attention to their studies.
With more than 1.2 billion people, India’s growing population is putting a severe strain on the country’s natural resources. According to Water.org, close to 104 million people do not have access to safe, clean water and 808 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 have access to a latrine. In addition, hand washing is not commonplace and 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.
“Water is vital for life,” adds Fr. Hyde. “Salesian Missions has made building wells and other projects that supply fresh, clean water a top priority for every community in every country in which Salesian missionaries work.”
India is home to 25 percent of the world’s poor and more than 30 percent of the country’s population lives in poverty, according to the World Bank. With the largest number of child laborers in the world, India has made significant progress the past eight years reducing the number of out-of-school children from 25 million to 8 million. However, an estimated 11 million children live on the streets facing the daily horrors of rampant exploitation, forced labor, widespread substance abuse and physical violence. Many poor youth see little opportunity or hope for a better life.
Salesian Missions – India
Water.org – India