Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: April 03, 2024

Quenching Thirst and Delivering Dignity

Clean water. In a world where impoverished communities desperately lack it, it’s one of the simplest ways to deliver dignity. In Lagos, Nigeria, a brand-new well is doing just that, thanks to the generosity of our compassionate donors.

Here, as many as 100,000 youth live on the streets … a heartbreaking byproduct of Nigeria’s pre-existing poverty and growing economic inequality. Faced with hunger, violence and despair at home, many children choose to run away, never anticipating the horrors that replace what they sought to escape.

“These boys and girls believe something better is out there,” explains Father Mike Conway, director of Salesian Missions. “They make their way into Lagos, hoping they can find work, a way to support themselves, and respite from their misery. But with no caring adult or social protection to speak of, they become targets for gang violence, trafficking and labor exploitation.”

In the Onipetesi area of Lagos, the Salesian-run Don Bosco Child Protection Center is a refuge for abandoned and homeless street children with nowhere else to turn. Some of the children are orphans; others have been physically abused; and still others are accused of witchcraft and expelled from their families. Missionaries give them safe shelter and nutritious food, and provide psychological and moral support. Currently, 20 children live full-time at the Center; between 80 and 100 visit every day for meals, bathing, recreation, psychosocial support, and more.

Lately, missionaries have struggled to consistently provide enough clean water to meet the daily demand for drinking, food preparation, and sanitation. While the Center had a well, its capacity was small and its mechanics were unreliable. With funding from our Clean Water Initiative, missionaries were not only able to replace the well, but also install a water storage tank. Together, this new, updated infrastructure will supply safe, reliable water to the Center and surrounding community for years to come.

“Caring for the least among us—that’s what it means to be a part of the Salesian Missions family,” Fr. Mike says. “And that’s what this well is doing. Clean drinking water helps homeless youth stay healthy so they are able to participate in our educational and social support programs. Clean water bolsters their opportunities to build brighter futures. And I couldn’t be more grateful for that.”

Learn more about our work in Nigeria.

Our mission brings fresh, clean water to those most in need. What’s your mission?

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