Water for Everyone: A Worthy Ongoing Goal
Water, as Pope Francis reminds us in Laudato Si, is a basic human right. Yet billions of people around the world still lack a safe water source for drinking, cooking and washing. Addressing this crisis requires bold action—and Salesian missionaries are ready to respond.
“When marginalized communities don’t have access to clean water, the effects of poverty multiply in ways that are almost impossible to overcome,” says Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “Malnourished children are more likely to become sick from water-borne diseases. Sick children lose precious time in school. And youth who lack proper education also lack the solid foundation they need to successfully support themselves in the future.”
Parents suffer too. Women—who are predominantly responsible for finding, collecting and hauling water for their households—lose precious hours to this task every single day. As a result, they don’t have enough time to properly care for their children, nor do they have the opportunity to develop job skills that could help support their families. And men who grow crops to feed or earn money for their families lose their ability to do so when water is scarce. Together, these patterns of hardship further tighten the chains of generational poverty.
“That’s why we’re so committed to tackling this issue head-on,” says Fr. Gus. “Safe, locally accessible water provides dignity and opportunity to entire communities, and these are the cornerstones of brighter, more equitable futures.”
Around the world, in rural villages and crowded urban areas—from Burundi to Vietnam, Peru to the Philippines, and so many places in between—Salesian missionaries have already completed critically important water projects that have immediately improved the lives of tens of thousands of vulnerable children and families. With support from our donors, they have been able to build wells, install water systems, construct bathrooms and sanitation facilities, develop safe sources for rural communities, and so much more, thanks to our Clean Water Initiative.
These efforts continue today. With support from generous friends like you, Salesian Missions recently funded several new water projects:
Ghana: “It Has Been Our Dream”
Before our Clean Water Initiative brought new wells to the Bono region of Ghana, thousands of residents in villages across the area depended on sources they had to walk miles to find.
Today, 5,000 residents in seven remote villages across the country finally have their own water wells and associated equipment. “This has been our dream and we have been praying about it,” says Leticia, who lives in one of these villages. “I am very happy. We are all happy!”
Learn more about our work in Ghana.
Nigeria: Resurrected Hopes
Thousands of residents living in four impoverished communities of Kebbi state also have their own source of clean water for the first time.
Previously, families drank from contaminated pond water or collected unfiltered rainwater when it was available. Often, women and children set out on lengthy collection missions that took them far from home and left them vulnerable to violence. With new water wells in the region, they no longer endure this hardship.
“The new water sources have improved the lives of thousands of poor families and children,” says Father Anthony Ekezie, who oversaw the project. “It has truly been life-changing!”
Learn more about our work in Nigeria.
Zambia: Back to School
Young Musonda lives in a small village in Zambia, where our Salesian missionaries operate a primary school and parish that together serve more than 6,500 people from 15 different communities. Many residents have their own wells, but these wells are so shallow that they regularly run dry for months at a time. And so, Musonda and precious children like him often miss school in order to walk a half mile each day to collect water for their households.
Recently, missionaries were able to install a new solar-powered well, storage tank and piping on parish grounds. The well is deep enough to provide fresh water year-round and is available for the community to use. Free from the burdens of collection, children like Musonda are catching up on their studies and enjoying the additional health benefits of having clean water close at hand.
Learn more about our work in Zambia.
“We can’t solve the global water crisis by ourselves,” says Fr. Gus. “But projects like these show that we can take significant and meaningful steps within individual communities that make a lasting impact. We remain grateful for our many friends who are helping us bring clean water to communities and families who need it most.”
Our mission brings clean, healthy water to those most in need. What’s your mission?