INDIA: Salesian Students Complete Innovative Sanitation Project Giving Back to Their Community
(MissionNewswire) Salesian students in their final year of their civil engineering technical degree with Don Bosco Self Employment Research Institute in Howrah, a municipal corporation in the Howrah district of West Bengal, India, recently completed a water project building and installing state-of-the-art toilets. The new toilets, which are economical and user-friendly, were provided to eight families in need in the immediate neighborhood to the school.
The toilets were created using rain water harvesting, which provides an uninterrupted supply of water to these toilets. The students, three young men and two women, we able to complete the project within 40 days. Both the concept and the execution of the project were part of the students’ mandatory practical project work that is necessary for obtaining the Civil Engineering Technician’s Certificate of New Delhi – ISC Certificate. This certificate shows that the students have the proficiency needed in the classroom and applying those skill learned into a real world environment.
The project was part of their final grade and was evaluated by their teachers at the Salesian Institute. The students were very happy with their grades and earned the praise of professionals outside of their school. Two professors from the Bengal Engineering Institute of Science and Technology were highly impressed with the design and workmanship of the toilets. In addition, Howrah Municipal Corporation has expressed great satisfaction at this unique venture undertaken by the students and the Salesian Institute.
“This water project was particularly important because it allowed the students to practice their skills while giving back to their local community in an area that is much needed,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian Missions has made water and sanitation projects including building a top priority for every community in every country in which Salesian missionaries work.”
Water projects such as these are needed in India because the country’s more than 1.2 billion population and growing 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.
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