(ANS – New Rochelle) – 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 in 9th grade 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.