Zambia

Zambia: Parish has clean water access thanks to the Salesian Missions ‘Clean Water Initiative’

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New water project drilled a hole deep enough to provide water year-round to St. James Parish

(MissionNewswire) St. James Parish in Chimese, a village in Zambia, has clean water thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. The project, part of the Salesian Missions "Clean Water Initiative," provided a new borehole, 22-foot-high tank stand, solar pump and water reticulation network within the parish premises.

Chimese is a large village of approximately 6,500 people. Most families own a shallow well that dries up each October to January. The new water project drilled a hole deep enough to provide water year-round.

St. James Parish is made up of people in Chimese and 15 other surrounding villages who will utilize water from the new water pump. More than 500 people come to the parish on Sundays and can use the water facilities. There are also more than 200 children who attend St. James Pre-School, most of whom are orphaned or children of single mothers.

In Chimese and the surrounding villages, women and children are responsible for fetching water for their families. Musonda Chishala is an orphaned child who had to walk almost half a mile daily to fetch water, causing him to miss time in school. Chishala now draws water from St. James Parish and is able to use the rest of his free time for studies and recreation. Along with Chishala, children at the pre-school can now use the toilets and drink water during the morning break rather than using pit latrines and drinking water from shallow wells and buckets. Hygiene has improved at the pre-school as a result.

"Having access to proper sanitation brings a sense of dignity to the children and families we serve in our programs," said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. "Improving water access ensures that 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."

Poverty is widespread in Zambia with upwards of 60 percent of the total population living below the poverty line. For those living in rural areas, the poverty rate rises sharply according to the World Bank. Over the past three decades, incomes in Zambia have fallen steadily and people do not have enough money to meet basic needs such as shelter, nutritious food and medical care.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic has also taken a devastating toll on Zambia's children. There are 1.2 million children classified as orphaned and vulnerable by UNICEF, and these children struggle to find education, basic services and hope for their future.

To learn more about the Salesian Missions Clean Water Initiative, go to SalesianMissions.org/water.

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Photo courtesy of Salesian Missions (contact for usage permissions)

Salesian Missions -- Zambia

World Bank -- Zambia