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WORLD WATER DAY: Salesian Missionaries Complete Water Projects Ensuring Youth Have Access to Clean, Safe Water

(MissionNewswire) Salesian Missions joins UN-Water, the organization that coordinates the UN’s work on water and sanitation, and the international community in celebrating World Water Day. Every year since 1993, the international community has celebrated World Water Day on March 22. The day focuses attention on the importance of safe, clean water while advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. The day also serves as a reminder of the global population who suffers from water-related issues and sets calls to action to prepare for management of water in the future.

Each year, UN-Water sets a theme for World Water Day corresponding to a current or future challenge. This year’s theme “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. UN-Water encourages the reduction of wastewater and its reuse of it. 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.

UN-Water estimates that worldwide there are more than 663 million people living without a safe water supply close to their home and must spend countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources to look for water and cope with the health impacts of using contaminated water. 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.

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.

“Having access to clean water and 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. “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 and celebration of World Water Day 2017, Salesian Missions is proud to highlight Salesian programs around the globe that provide clean, safe water to those most in need.


Salesian-run Don Bosco Kep, located in Kep Province, Cambodia, has just completed a water system and sanitation project on its 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, the fishing ponds and for 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  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 missionaries at the Don Bosco Oratory in the village of Kabgayi, located south of the city of Gitarama in the 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.


Don Bosco College and Vocational Center in Salelologa, a village district at the east end of Savai’i Island in Samoa, has a new water tank system thanks to funding provided by Salesian Missions. The funding helped to provide water tanks and pumps for water storage necessary for the school, especially during Samoa’s dry season.

The college is located downhill from seven new water tanks so that the school water will be gravity-fed without the expense of additional water pumps. The college located three new water tanks at the new Don Bosco Hall, which is currently under construction. This will provide a separate water supply to a location situated away from the existing water pipes and avoid additional expense to the college. The new water tanks and associated pumps and pipes will be maintained by college maintenance staff as a part of their normal duties.


Water_Day_Salesian_Missions_Lufubu_Zambia_2017-1The government of Zambia asked Salesian missionaries to start an agricultural school in Lufubu with the goal of establishing an alternative to fishing. The local community was over-fishing the lakes and needed a new source of food security that would combat hunger while preserving the environment. The school includes a working farm where the students gain hands-on experience with animal husbandry and the cultivation of vegetables and maize on a personal plot of land designated for each student. The farm includes 400 hectares of land, five of which are currently cleared. There is a river near the farm that provides a reliable source of water year-round.

While the Salesian campus, which includes the agricultural school, farm and youth center, does have a bore hole that provides fresh water, it was limited. A stream about 200 meters away brings in fresh, clean water for washing, watering and even drinking, but unfortunately much of the water did not reach the Salesian storage tank because of the many leaks. Salesian Missions provided the funding for Salesian missionaries in Lufubu to replace the 200 meters of PVC piping to deliver the fresh water from the stream to the storage tank, providing a positive impact on the school and its students.



World Water Day 2017


Salesian Missions – Cambodia

Salesian Missions – Zambia

Salesian Missions – Rwanda

*Any goods, services, or funds provided by Salesian Missions to programs located in this country were administered in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.

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