Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: October 10, 2020

Clean Water Brings Improved Health

Don Bosco College in Golaghat, Assam, India provides advanced education, housing and the opportunity to build brighter futures for 300 marginalized students. Thanks to generous donations to our Clean Water Initiative, these young men and women also enjoy better health.

When Don Bosco College began in 2015, two small wells were dug to provide clean water for drinking and sanitation. However, just three short years later those wells were no longer adequate due to an ongoing water crisis that left 99 million people across India desperately seeking relief.

“In India, groundwater makes up over 40 percent of the water supply,” explains Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “For a variety of reasons, especially in recent years, this groundwater has steadily diminished—leading to a situation where more than half of the country’s reservoirs are below normal capacity. For far too many people, access to water has become a true crisis.”

In fact, a growing number of people throughout India now face a concurrent challenge: poor hygiene and sanitation. Most water outside these reservoirs is contaminated by agricultural runoff and improperly managed sewage. Only about 14 percent of Assam’s residents have access to a proper toilet. According to the World Bank, this means that 21 percent of communicable diseases in India originated and are spread through unsafe water.

“This is one of many reasons why we’re so focused on bringing clean, safe water to as many Salesian-run programs around the globe as we can,” says Fr. Gus. “And Don Bosco College is another successful example of these efforts.”

With funding from the Salesian Missions Clean Water Initiative, missionaries at Don Bosco College were able to fully overhaul the water and sanitation system. This included a new borewell—a small hole drilled in the ground that pumps safe water for drinking, sanitation, hygiene and other everyday purposes.

The result, explains Fr. Gus, is “a sense of dignity. These improved facilities mean that teachers and students are working and learning in an environment that promotes proper hygiene. Now, they’re much less vulnerable to water-borne illnesses, which means they can spend more time in the classroom.”

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