GLOBAL HANDWASHING DAY: Salesian Missions highlights the importance of clean water access for good health in Salesian programs
Clean water projects in Nigeria and India highlight the work of Salesians around the globe in support of this year’s theme “Clean Hands for All.”
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Oct. 15, 2019) Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins the international community in celebrating Global Handwashing Day 2019. The day, organized by the Global Handwashing Partnership, is celebrated each year on Oct. 15 and is dedicated to increasing awareness of the importance of handwashing with soap.
This year’s theme is “Clean Hands for All” and highlights the inequalities in handwashing facilities and effective handwashing promotion programs. The lack of both can put individuals at higher risk for diseases that impact their health, education and economic outcomes.
According to the World Health Organization, millions of young lives could be saved with access to bar soap and hygiene education. Pneumonia and diarrheal disease are two of the leading causes of death among children under 5 years old. Most are from populations in developing countries who live in extreme poverty. Having access to clean water and soap is one of the best preventive measures.
Thanks to an ongoing partnership between Salesian Missions and Rise Against Hunger, an international relief organization that provides food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable, soap is often included in regular shipments of rice-meal donations that are made to Salesian programs.
Working and living in the communities they serve, Salesian missionaries are perfectly positioned to ensure that soap and other hygiene items reach those who need it most. The accompanying education ensures that recipients learn the importance of proper hygiene for good health. Operating primary schools, technical training centers, agricultural schools, youth centers, orphanages and programs for street children, Salesian missionaries are on the front lines assessing what youth and their families need most.
Salesian Missions has also made clean water access a priority through its “Clean Water Initiative.” This ensures that Salesian programs around the globe have access to the clean, safe water they need.
“Clean, safe water is essential to ensure that youth in our programs are engaging in good hygiene like proper handwashing,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions. “Improving water and sanitation, as well as providing donated soap, 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.”
One recent Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative” project ensured water access to 10 communities in Nigeria. The borehole projects were completed in Ibadan, Akure, Ijebu Ode, Ondo, Onitsha, Abuja, Koko and three poor communities in the state of Benue. All of the communities are home to Salesian programs that provide education and help to meet the basic needs of poor youth and their families.
In another project, Salesian missionaries at Don Bosco Anbu Illam, located in the city of Coimbatore in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, recently completed a new bathroom renovation and improved clean water access thanks to donor funding through the Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative.” The shelter for older boys, between 10 and 17 years old, now has new sewer lines and eight new bathrooms.
These projects, and others like it around the globe, ensure that youth in Salesian programs have access to clean water for handwashing, clean drinking water and proper sanitation, which helps aid health and wellness and enables students to focus on their studies.
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