WORLD TOILET DAY: Salesian Missions highlights water and sanitation projects
‘Clean Water Initiative’ prioritizes building wells and supplying fresh water
(MissionNewswire) Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins humanitarian organizations and the international community in honoring World Toilet Day. Celebrated each year on Nov. 19, the day brings the world’s attention to the global needs of sanitation and marks the founding of the World Toilet Organization which started on Nov. 19, 2001. The inaugural World Toilet Summit was held on the same day and marked the first global summit of its kind.
Every year, U.N.-Water — the United Nation’s coordination mechanism on water and sanitation — sets the theme. This year’s theme “Making the invisible visible” focuses on the growing sanitation crisis. U.N.-Water noted that 3.6 billion people are still living with poor quality toilets that ruin their health and pollute their environment. Every day, more than 800 children die from diarrhea linked to unsafe water, sanitation and poor hygiene.
U.N. Water stated, “Inadequate sanitation systems spread human waste into rivers, lakes and soil, polluting the water resources under our feet. However, this problem seems to be invisible. Invisible because it happens underground. Invisible because it happens in the poorest and most marginalized communities.”
In response to this crisis, Salesian Missions continues its “Clean Water Initiative” to make building wells and supplying fresh, clean water a top priority for every community in every country in which Salesian missionaries work.
“Having access to proper sanitation brings a sense of dignity to the children and families we serve in our programs,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “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 and keep them away from important study time.”
In honor of World Toilet Day 2022, Salesian Missions is proud to highlight Salesian programs around the globe that aid in the development of appropriate and effective water and sanitation systems.
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.
Youth at Ekalavya Children’s Home, located in Rajahmundry in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, have access to improved sanitation thanks to donor funding. The project was part of the Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative.” The home, which PARA (People’s Action for Rural Awakening) has been running for the past five years, can accommodate 50 children.
The toilets in the home needed renovation. The floor was starting to sink due to water leaks from the old toilets. Through the funding, 15 toilets were repaired in the building, ensuring proper sanitation for the boys and visitors to the facility.
The home was started to support school dropouts, rescue child laborers, and provide a home for at-risk children, those living on the street, or those who have run away from dysfunctional families. Ekalavya Children’s Home is a child care institution licensed under the Juvenile Justice Act. Every home for children at risk needs to be licensed by the Women Development and Child Welfare Department of the state government.
Students at the Don Bosco Center and Don Bosco Primary School in Rundu, Namibia, have access to clean water thanks to donor funding. 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. 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. Around the parish, there are many poor households with workers staying in rental houses. Ngo Thi Man, a factory worker, is benefiting from this project. With the money she saves on water, she can spend her salary on other basic needs and help support her family back home.
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. Mr. Rhađê, a farmer employed part-time to protect the forest, draws potable water for his family instead of having to get it from streams which are unsafe. He is supplying fresh water to his family and the crops while saving money that he once spent on water containers. There are also 2,700 people benefiting in the Thanh Binh Parish.
Photos courtesy of Salesian Missions (contact for usage permissions)