WORLD TOILET DAY: Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative” ensures youth at Salesian schools and centers have access to clean water and proper sanitation
Programs in DR Congo, India, Nigeria and Tanzania highlight Salesian initiatives that bring clean water access and proper sanitation to schools and communities.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Nov. 19, 2019) Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins humanitarian organizations and the international community in honoring World Toilet Day. Celebrated each year on Nov. 19, the day brings the world’s attention to the global needs of sanitation and marks the founding of the World Toilet Organization which started on Nov. 19, 2001. The inaugural World Toilet Summit was held on the same day and marked the first global summit of its kind.
Each year, the World Toilet Organization sets a theme for World Toilet Day that corresponds to a current or future challenge. This year’s theme “Leaving no one behind” focuses on striving for universal access to sanitation.
The World Toilet Organization notes that the world is not on track to reach Sustainable Development Goal 6 which ensures availability and sustainable management of sanitation and water for all by 2030. It indicates that 4.2 billion people live without safely managed sanitation, 673 million still practice open defecation and 3 billion lack basic handwashing facilities. The impact of exposure to human waste has a devastating impact on public health, living conditions, nutrition, education and economic productivity across the world.
Further, it’s noted that this sanitation crisis means untreated human waste is spreading diseases into water supplies and the food chain for billions of people. Inadequate sanitation is estimated to cause 432,000 diarrheal deaths every year.
In response to this crisis, Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative” is ensuring that providing clean water is a top priority for every community in every country in which Salesian missionaries work.
“Having access to proper sanitation brings a sense of dignity to the children and families we serve in our programs,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions. “Improving water and sanitation facilities also ensures that teachers and students are working and learning in an environment that promotes proper hygiene and has safe drinking water, reducing the number of waterborne illnesses that can affect those in our schools and keep them away from important study time.”
In honor of World Toilet Day 2019, Salesian Missions is proud to highlight Salesian programs around the globe that aid in the development of appropriate and effective water and sanitation systems.
Salesian missionaries are providing clean water access to children and families in Cité Plateau III which is a poor and overcrowded area of Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Child labor is considered normal and the rate of schooling is extremely low. Part of the challenge is a lack of water which has created a health emergency in the area.
The only drinking water available at Cité Plateau III is distributed by a few rudimentary fountains that are fed by the same aquifer that houses wastewater. Rainwater and water that accumulates in the stone quarries scattered throughout the territory is collected by women who store the water in old, dirty containers. This water is often contaminated. Some mothers get up at 4:00 a.m. to go and draw water from the wells of the neighboring districts, but this is not always possible.
A Salesian well project directly benefited at least 6,000 people, but at an indirect level, it will do much more. The initiative provides for the direct involvement of people living in Cité Plateau III in the well’s management. An awareness-raising campaign will be launched once the inauguration takes place to train the locals on the importance of personal hygiene.
Salesian missionaries at Don Bosco Anbu Illam, located in the city of Coimbatore in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, completed a new bathroom renovation and improved clean water access thanks to donor funding through 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. A bathroom that had been heavily damaged and unusable was repaired.
Don Bosco Anbu Illam provides shelter and social support for homeless youth who had been living on the street. Salesian missionaries provide their basic needs while connecting youth to education, rehabilitation, and when possible, reconnection with their families. There are 86 boys in the three Don Bosco Anbu Illam centers. In what’s known as the Bosco Block at Ukkadam, which shelters the senior boys and where the renovation was completed, upwards of 50 boys seek shelter and use the new facilities.
Ten communities in Nigeria have clean water access thanks to donor funding through Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative.” The borehole projects have been 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.
The project has consisted of a survey within each community, drilling of borewells and construction of areas for water tanks. A finished well in each community consists of water tanks, plumbing and electrical work.
Students at the Don Bosco Kilimanjaro International Institute for Telecommunications, Electronics and Computers, located in Arusha, Tanzania, have clean water access thanks to Salesian Missions donors. Through Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative,” donors have provided the funding to drill a borehole and test water capacity, build a water tower and install a new water tank, and supply and install a water purifying system.
The Don Bosco Kilimanjaro International Institute serves poor youth and young adults, many from local tribes. A sustainable source of clean water will enable students and staff to fight water-borne diseases, endure the dry season and cultivate the land for food.
Providing a source of technical training for Tanzania’s youth, the institute consists of a 15-acre campus that offers the most advanced training technologies in the region. Its innovative education model is based on a hands-on and student-centered approach to learning with full access to modern learning equipment simulating real-world practical experiences. It is also registered and accredited by the National Council for Technical Education and awards successful graduates with a three-year National Technical Award Level Six diploma.
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