WORLD TOILET DAY: Salesian Missions highlights clean water projects

2023 theme focuses on progress needed to ensure everyone has safe toilets and water by 2030.

NEW ROCHELLE, NY (FOR RELEASE Nov. 19, 2023) Top of Form Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins humanitarian organizations and the international community in honoring World Toilet Day. Celebrated each year on Nov. 19, the day brings the world’s attention to the global needs of sanitation and marks the founding of the World Toilet Organization on Nov. 19, 2001. The inaugural World Toilet Summit was held on the same day and was the first global summit of its kind.

Every year, U.N.-Water — the United Nation’s coordination mechanism on water and sanitation — sets the theme. This year’s theme “Accelerating Change” focuses on the progress needed to ensure everyone has safe toilets and water by 2030.

In March 2023, the Water Action Agenda was produced at the U.N. 2023 Water Conference. The Water Action Agenda is the collection of more than 800 existing and new commitments on sanitation and water from governments, companies, organizations and other institutions. In addition, more than 7,000 members of the public have made their own promises through the “Be The Change” campaign.

U.N.-Water noted, “There are 3.5 billion people still living without safe toilets. 419 million people still practice ‘open defecation’. In these situations, diseases spread, killing 1,000 children under 5 every single day. This global crisis poses a threat to nature and everyone’s health, particularly women, girls, and other vulnerable groups.”

“In response to this crisis, Salesian Missions continues its ‘Clean Water Initiative’ to make building wells and supplying fresh, clean water a top priority for every community in every country in which Salesian missionaries work,” said Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions. “Improving sanitation facilities ensures that youth are living in an environment that promotes proper hygiene, reducing the number of waterborne illnesses that can keep them away from important study time.”

In honor of World Toilet Day 2023, Salesian Missions is proud to highlight Salesian programs around the globe that aid in the development of appropriate and effective water and sanitation systems.


Two communities in Ghana have access to clean water thanks to funding from Salesian Missions. The water project was part of the Salesian efforts to bring water access to the Bono Region of the country. Water remains one of the main challenges in the region.

The water project improved access to quality water for a community and school that are part of the Odumase Mary Help of Christians Parish, which has 16 outstations and 22 villages. Funding provided for a borehole with a hand-pump in the Kojokesekrom community. The community has 700 residents and 300 people who come to the area to farm but do not live there.

The project also provided a mechanical borehole with a water tower and spouts in the community of Chiraa for 340 students, staff and Salesian sisters. In addition, 30 families are benefiting from this new water access. The Sisters of Holy Family of Nazareth started Holy Family of Nazareth School in Chiraa in 2015. The school has eight classes from nursery school to grade four. The school is located in an undeveloped area and is isolated. The nearby community did not have stable water access. Until this new project, the school had to rely on a stream, which wasn’t a safe water source.


Don Bosco Care Home, located in the village of Nilavarapatti in the district of Salem in Tamil Nadu, India, has a new dormitory and toilets thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions. Don Bosco Care Home has been working for almost a decade to bring awareness about HIV/AIDS and improve medical treatment for children who have been infected. Salesians provide medical care, promote positive thinking and work to break the social stigma.

For the youth in their care, Salesians with Don Bosco Care Home provide food, nutrition, medical care, education, recreation and counseling. The home was also given approval from the government to start a special school on the campus. The number of youth at the home has risen from 73 in 2019 to the current 83 youth. As a result, Salesians needed to expand both living and bathroom facilities.

Salesians constructed a multipurpose community hall with a dormitory and additional toilet block. The hall can be used as a space where all the youth take part in health camps and motivational programs and games. The new toilet facilities allow for a more hygienic environment for the youth.


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% are women and 40% 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.


Villages in Vietnam have clean water access thanks to donor funding. 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.


About Salesian Missions USA

Salesian Missions is headquartered in New Rochelle, NY, and is part of the Don Bosco Network — a worldwide federation of Salesian NGOs. The mission of the U.S.-based nonprofit Catholic organization is to raise funds for international programs that serve youth and families in poor communities around the globe. The Salesian missionaries are made up of priests, brothers, and sisters, as well as laypeople — all dedicated to caring for poor children throughout the world in more than 130 countries and helping young people become self-sufficient by learning a trade that will help them gain employment. To date, more than 3 million youth have received services funded by Salesian Missions. These services and programs are provided to children regardless of race or religion. For more information, go to



Laura Perillo
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