WORLD TOILET DAY: Salesian Missions highlights water and sanitation projects as part of its Clean Water Initiative
(MissionNewswire) Salesian Missions joins the United Nations and the international community in celebrating World Toilet Day. The day, celebrated each year on Nov. 19, marks the founding of World Toilet Organization, which started on Nov. 19, 2001. The inaugural World Toilet Summit was held on the same day, the first global summit of its kind. The day brings the world’s attention to the global needs of sanitation.
Billions of people around the world lack appropriate sanitation systems. They are either non-existent or completely ineffective, leading to significant disease and even death. For those who have no access to clean water, water-related disease is common with more than 840,000 people dying each year from water-related diseases. By 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals aim to reach everyone with sanitation, halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase recycling and safe reuse.
Each year, World Toilet Organization sets a theme for World Toilet Day corresponding to a current or future challenge. This year’s theme of “Wastewater” focuses on the fact that the majority of wastewater from homes, cities, industry and agriculture flows back to nature without being treated or reused—polluting the environment, and losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials. World Toilet Organization encourages the reduction of wastewater and its reuse. In cities, wastewater can be treated and reused for green spaces, and in industry and agriculture, wastewater can be treated and recycled for things like cooling systems and irrigation. Through this reduction and reuse, the natural water cycle will work better for every living thing.
In response to this crisis, Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, has made building wells and supplying fresh, clean water a top priority for every community in every country in which Salesian missionaries work through their Clean Water Imitative.
“Having access to proper sanitation brings a sense of dignity to the children and families we serve in our programs,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Improving water and sanitation facilities also ensures that teachers and students are working and learning in an environment that promotes proper hygiene and has safe drinking water, reducing the number of waterborne illnesses that can affect those in our schools keeping them away from important study time.”
In honor and celebration of World Toilet Day 2017, Salesian Missions is proud to highlight Salesian programs around the globe that aid in the development of appropriate and effective water and sanitation systems.
Salesian-run Don Bosco Kep, located in Kep Province, Cambodia, has completed a water system and sanitation project on the school grounds. The project entailed drilling a new well, installing a water filter, new irrigation and a water treatment plant, in addition to new sanitation facilities. The water project is providing appropriate sanitation and fresh drinking water for 350 students and teachers on campus as well as providing clean water for farming, fishing ponds and cooking. The addition of the new water treatment facilities is also preventing ecological contamination.
Salesian missionaries at the Salesian Center of St. Charles Lwanga, located in Makelekele, a suburb of Brazzaville, the capital and largest city of the Republic of the Congo, operate a parish, youth center and primary school. The center recently raised funds through the help of the Salesian Missions office in Madrid, Spain and other donors to develop a hydraulic system and water tower to collect and distribute water from the existing well for the more than 900 people who pass through the center daily. This is needed because interruptions to the water service are frequent in Makelekele and the surrounding areas.
The local Salesian parish in Makelekele has close to 5,000 people attending mass and other services. The Salesian youth center, open to local youth groups, offers a well-equipped library and a computer room. Nearly 250 youth access the center every day either to study or to have fun in a healthy educational way during their free time. The Salesian primary school is also open every day and 600 students attend morning or afternoon classes. The new water system will help to provide fresh, clean water to the students and families who take part in Salesian programs and for the surrounding communities.
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, 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 are applying the skills 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.
Salesian missionaries at the Don Bosco Oratory in the village of Kabgayi, located south of the city of Gitarama in Muhanga District in the southern province of Rwanda, just completed a water well project in cooperation with Logic Engineering. The project included drilling for a new water well and installing an electric pump. A new water tank was also built to store large amounts of water. The new well provides water for youth who participate in the oratory’s activities as well as the surrounding community that often faces water shortages.
The project was funded by Salesian Missions and has drastically improved the sanitation and hygiene of youth in the Salesian program. Students and their families are able to have access to clean drinking water and water for washing their hands and taking a shower. The water is also available for cleaning the program’s sports facilities and equipment. New bathroom facilities provide better sanitation as well.
Photo courtesy INFOANS