Don Bosco School Mebo provides education for 120 boys and 100 girls ages 5-15. There are 125 students who board at the school, along with 12 teachers. Most of the children attending the school come from poor families in the region.
The school needed its own water supply since there are no water sources supplied by the local government. Students and teachers had to use the river for bathing and washing clothes. The water was not safe, and there was a drowning risk for students. Drinking water was collected in small tanks that were not enough to supply the school. The new water tanks will provide clean water access for drinking, bathing and washing clothing, decreasing the risk of waterborne illness for staff and students.
“The water tank was completed before the monsoon season, and we collected the water from the school roof,” explained Father Mathew Palackel, provincial economer. “We also made small filter tanks to purify the water before it’s collected in the main tank. The purification is done by letting the water go through bricks, sand and charcoal.”
With more than 1.3 billion people, India’s growing population is putting a severe strain on the country’s natural resources. According to Water.org, close to 77 million people do not have access to safe water, and 769 million have no sanitation services. Most water sources throughout the country are contaminated by sewage and agricultural runoff.
While India has made some progress in the supply of safe water, there remain gross disparities in safe water access across the country. The World Bank estimates that 21 percent of communicable diseases in India are related to unsafe water with diarrhea alone causing more than 1,600 deaths daily. Access to proper sanitation is extremely poor, particularly in rural areas where only 14 percent of the population has access to a latrine.
In response to this crisis, Salesian Missions has developed a “Clean Water Initiative” that has made building wells and supplying fresh, clean water a top priority for every community in every country in which Salesian missionaries work.