WORLD WATER DAY: ‘Clean Water Initiative’ brings fresh water to communities around the globe
Salesian Missions makes clean water projects a priority.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (March 22, 2023) Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins humanitarian organizations and countries around the globe in celebrating World Water Day. Led by U.N.-Water, the organization that coordinates the United Nations’ work on water and sanitation, the day has been honored on March 22 every year since 1993.
The day focuses attention on the importance of safe, clean water while advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. While serving as a reminder of the global population who suffers from water-related issues, the day also provides calls to action to prepare for the management of water in the future.
Each year, U.N.-Water sets a theme for World Water Day corresponding to a current or future challenge. This year’s theme, “Accelerating Change,” focuses on change to solve the water and sanitation crisis. The day calls on everyone to take action because water affects us all.
U.N.-Water noted that globally society is off track in meeting Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030. Worldwide more than 2 billion people are living without access to safe water. In addition, U.N.-Water noted that more than 700 children under age 5 die every day from diarrheal disease linked to unsafe water and poor sanitation.
“Billions of people in countries around the globe don’t have clean water for drinking, cooking, sanitation and other needs, and that’s why Salesian Missions has made clean water projects a priority,” said Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions. “Salesian Missions has continued its “Clean Water Initiative” — which makes building wells and supplying fresh, clean water a top priority for every community in every country in which Salesian missionaries work.”
In honor of World Water Day, Salesian Missions is highlighting completed water projects that have impacted youth and entire communities.
More than 2,000 people in the Salesian São João Baptista de Moatize Mission, located in Ntsungo, Mozambique, have clean water access thanks to funding from the Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative.”
The region, which is home to more than 8,000 people, lacks access to health services and clean water. It only has one primary school. Among the beneficiaries, 60 percent are women and 40 percent are men. Most of the communities have many children and older youth.
With the funding, Salesians were able to drill a borewell, install solar-powered pumps and create a water system with three plastic tanks with a capacity of 5,000 liters each. Water is channeled to the communities and to the primary school. Water fountains were also set up in the communities so that people could access the water.
Residents of the Ruurumwe village, located outside of Rundu, Namibia, have access to clean water thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions. The project, part of the Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative,” provided a new borewell, water tank and pump.
The 550 people living in the village are poor and survive on small-scale farming and government grants. The water supply from a small seasonal river is erratic and too often not enough. During the summer, residents survive on water from holes and small wells, but this water is not safe for human consumption. The new borewell and 5,000-liter water storage tank will supply fresh, clean water for the entire village and allow people to grow food for the community.
One of the beneficiaries, Ethel Hamutenya, has had a difficult life. She had to stop school at grade 9 after she became pregnant, and she has not been able to go back. Hamutenya struggles to find work to earn money to feed herself and her child. She is grateful for the new water supply.
Hamutenya said, “Today I have a small garden that has given me hope in my life. I have planted some vegetables and my life has changed because of this water. If I work hard, after next year, I will have enough money to go back to school.”
More than 300 residents of the Kamakuti village in Kabwe, Zambia, have clean, fresh water thanks to the Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative.” The project provided funding for a new borewell, water tank and pump in the village, which hosts one of the Salesian St. Mary’s Parish village chapels.
The villages lack basic services including water, proper sanitation and transportation. There is also a lack of education facilities for children, and people travel long distances to access a health center.
This is the first time this community has clean water. Women and children will no longer have to travel a distance to bring back water to the village. Mr. Kasongo, a long-time village resident, could not believe that running water was now available. Another woman shouted, “Our children will live!” Children are often given the only water available from unsafe shallow wells, which can cause health complications that impede their growth.
Villages in Vietnam have clean water access thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions, The projects, part of the Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative,” provided water purification systems and water tanks for the Hoa An Parish in Bac Giang, the Khop village and Thanh Binh Parish in Kon Tum, and the Tac Van Oratory in Tac Van.
The Hoa An Parish has a supply of fresh water for more than 1,000 people. The new water system will also ensure clean water for the 100 children at the Salesian oratory and 20 boarders from the boarding school. Around the parish, there are many poor households with workers staying in rental houses. Ngo Thi Man, a factory worker, is benefiting from this project. With the money she saves on water, she can spend her salary on other basic needs and help support her family back home.
In Kon Tum, more than 1,147 people are benefiting from the water supply in the Khop village where there are poor families working as farmers. Mr. Rhađê, a farmer employed part-time to protect the forest, draws potable water for his family instead of having to get it from streams which are unsafe. He is supplying fresh water to his family and the crops while saving money that he once spent on water containers. There are also 2,700 people benefiting in the Thanh Binh Parish.
At the Tac Van Oratory, there are 500 people in the local parish and 80 boys at the oratory who are benefiting from this new water supply. Around the community there are many poor families who make their living by fishing. Tran Van Ngoc, a fisherman, has an unstable income and is able to draw water for free instead of purchasing water canisters to provide clean water for his family.
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