DR CONGO: Youth at Chem Chem Youth Center have access to clean, safe water through Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative”
The water project is positively impacting 150 youth living at the Salesian Chem Chem Youth Center as well as the surrounding population of more than 2,000.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (April 16, 2019) Children, young mothers and pregnant women now have access to safe, clean drinking water thanks to a water project funded by donors through Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative.” The project is impacting 150 youth living at the Salesian Chem Chem Youth Center, located in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as the surrounding population of more than 2,000.
The project sought funds to drill a motorized well, build supports for plastic tanks and install a solar-powered immersion pump. With the project complete, young women and children will no longer have to travel far distances in search of clean water. This water project is the second to take place at the Chem Chem center. In 2017, funding was provided to upgrade the existing water system at the agriculture training center at Chem Chem to allow proper quantities of clean water for students. This was accomplished by deepening the existing well, erecting a water tower and installing two 2,500-liter water tanks.
Those attending the Chem Chem Youth Center are youth who are unable to finish normal training in secondary schools and who are unable to find a job. Without living at the center and accessing education, particularly farming education, they would not have the opportunity to prepare for the future and find stable employment.
UN-Water estimates that worldwide 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services and by 2050, the world’s population will have grown by an estimated 2 billion people, pushing global water demand up to 30 percent higher than today. One in four primary schools have no drinking water service, with students using unprotected water sources or going thirsty. In addition, UN-Water notes that more than 700 children under 5 years of age die every day from diarrheal disease linked to unsafe water and poor sanitation.
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. The project in the Democratic Republic of Congo is just one of many that have been completed, with more in process.
“Water is essential for life, and it’s critical that Salesian programs around the globe have access to safe, clean water for the health and safety of those we serve,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions. “Improving water and sanitation facilities brings a sense of dignity to children and ensures that teachers and students are working and learning in an environment that promotes proper hygiene and has safe drinking water. This reduces the number of waterborne illnesses that can affect those in our schools, keeping them away from important study time.”
Despite its vast material wealth, the Democratic Republic of Congo has long been a very poor nation. Half of the country’s population lives below the poverty line on less than $1 a day, especially those in rural communities. Because of ongoing strife and violence within the country, more than 8.5 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, a figure that’s expected to increase. More than 4.1 million Congolese are now displaced with 620,000 seeking refuge in neighboring countries. More than 7.5 million people do not have enough food to eat.
Salesian missionaries have been working in the Democratic Republic of Congo for more than 100 years ensuring that the most vulnerable children are not forgotten. Salesian primary and secondary schools and programs lay the foundation for early learning while Salesian trade, vocational and agricultural programs offer many youth the opportunity for a stable and productive future.
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