Salesian Missions, New Rochelle
Mindanao, the Philippines, 15 July 2018 -- Poor youth and their families attending the Mary Help of Christians parish, located in Mindanao, Philippines, have access to clean, safe water thanks to funding provided by Salesian Missions’ “Clean Water Initiative.” The Salesian parish continues to care for more than 1,400 Catholic families who live in the surrounding five local villages. They attend services in the 24 chapels dispersed in the area.
The parish also holds spiritual formation, meetings and other pastoral activities or gatherings for its parishioners. The parish also offers a small farm next the church, which contributes to the daily sustenance of the Salesian community in Calinan. A water system is set up in Dacudao that provides an adequate safe water supply to about 2,000 residents.
Recently work needed to be completed to improve this water system. With the funding provided by Salesian Missions, the project entailed the installation of water pump and pump house, water tanks and pipe lines. An 8-inch, 100-meter deep water well borehole with a 6-inch casing was dug followed by the installation of a water pump. Constant discharge pumping tests were done and the construction of a pump house was also completed. The construction of the raised water storage stand and the installation of a water tank completed the project.
Residents of Dacudao are happy that they now have an additional source clean water. Many nearby residents are able to conveniently access water from the faucets strategically located in the farm. The new water supply was also effective is helping those affected by the December 2017 typhoon, Tropical Storm Vinta, which damaged a large area in Mindanao including those living in Calinan, Davao.
Flooding in many areas near the Davao River caused residents to be temporarily evacuated. Some of the families evacuated to the church parish where they sought refuge from the storm and flooding. The completion of the water project was very timely as it provided the evacuees clean and potable water for their daily needs. In addition, the new water system supplies the irrigation requirements of the farm. With it, the farm is expected to increase production of fruits and vegetables for the families that live near the farm.
UN-Water estimates that worldwide 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services, and by 2050, the world’s population will have grown by an estimated 2 billion people, pushing global water demand up to 30 percent higher than today. UN-Water also indicates that around 1.9 billion people live in potentially severely water-scarce areas. By 2050, this could increase to around 3 billion people.
“Having access to clean water is essential for the health and safety of those we serve around the globe,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Improving water and sanitation facilities like this project in the Philippines brings a sense of dignity for the children we serve 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.”
Throughout the Philippines, Salesian missionaries offer a variety of educational and social development programs for youth, many with an emphasis on recreation and sports activities. The goal is to provide the opportunities necessary to gain an education and skills training to break the cycle of poverty and retain long-term employment.