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When unforeseen events disrupt the patterns of daily life, those who are already marginalized suffer the most. The poor become poorer. The hungry get hungrier. More and more children and families plunge into despair.

As Salesian missionaries, we are called to do whatever we can on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable—now, as they face the COVID-19 crisis; and later, when its lasting effects strike particularly hard.

You can help deliver hope today—and tomorrow.

In addition to immediate assistance, people under our care need the programs and services they already depend upon to continue … so they don’t slide backward into insurmountable hardship.

We invite you to learn more about our work around the world to address the pandemic. And then we invite you to make concrete what you carry in your heart: a special gift, in any amount, that will help maintain the continuity of our programs long after this crisis fades.

As Father Ángel Fernández Artime says, every “humble but important contribution” matters!

Now more than ever, we are grateful for your compassionate support.

A Special Message from Father Ángel Fernández Artime, Salesian Rector Major

Around the world, Salesian missionaries are responding to the needs of the poor and homeless youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. While most Salesian-run schools are closed, missionaries continue to care for the children who live on school grounds and at other institutions. Here are just a few examples of our missionaries’ tireless work.

Mission Updates

Nearly 65,000 men, women and children in Rukago Parish now have the ability to wash their hands for proper hygiene. Thanks to the generosity of our many friends, missionaries were able to purchase and install 24 handwashing stations at churches and schools throughout the parish, including the Don Bosco Oratory. In addition, missionaries were able to provide some of the most vulnerable area families with food assistance.

Although the pandemic shuttered most in-person programs, the Salesian-run Patio Punitaqui Oratory continues to serve at-risk youth online. Thanks to a generous Salesian Missions donor, the Don Bosco Foundation in Santiago has hired a trainer and several educational and activities monitors who provide virtual programming through the Oratory. Together, these new staff members have helped students improve their English language skills, provided sports workshops, developed special holiday activities—and printed educational materials that children can work on from home.

The Don Bosco Foundation is providing food relief to those most in need—including widows, the elderly, those living in poverty, people with disabilities and orphans.

In cooperation with three Salesian-run parishes in the country, the Foundation identified the most vulnerable people living within each. From May to June, 1,174 people among hundreds of families received nutritious food.

With assistance from a kind Salesian Missions benefactor, hungry families in Shillong and Assam received desperately needed nutrition in the form of food kits. Distributed through Bosconet, an association of Salesian-run organizations based in New Delhi, these kits reached 780 households affected by COVID-19 lockdowns at the end of May. Additionally, Bosconet distributed dry rations to temporary and day laborers who lost their jobs in the local tea growing farms.

At the same time, the Anma Integrated Development Association (AIDA) used donor funds to help 13 farmers establish their own small tea farms and develop long-term sustainable income. AIDA provided tea saplings to each farmer and will offer technical assistance during the process.

The Don Bosco Center for Human Resources Development in Gagillapur has produced and distributed over 1,000 face masks to the poor in the area. And in Bangalore, fishermen’s wives are sewing masks for railway staff and health care workers at the Holy Cross Hospital with fabric and materials provided by Salesian missionaries.

In Malawi, the ongoing pandemic is pushing struggling families further into poverty—which is why Salesian missionaries are providing crucial food supplies. “We sincerely thank Salesian Missions donors for their support, which enabled us to reach out to needy families,” says Father Mulenga Oswald of St. Don Bosco Parish in Lilongwe. “Salesian Missions’ prompt response helped us to mobilize and assist the people that needed help most.”

Thanks to this financial support, Fr. Mulenga was able to provide corn to 382 families in the parish. Additionally, 280 families from 28 small communities benefited, along with families connected to Salesian centers in Mbunu, Kundi, Kangonoma, Chipeni and more.

For children facing hunger in Rundu, a Salesian-run feeding program at Don Bosco Youth Center already provided a daily lifeline. Once COVID-19 lockdowns hit, the program became absolutely crucial.

The Don Bosco Youth Center provides shelter and holistic services for homeless youth and other vulnerable children—65 students participate in computer classes; 70 children attend pre-school; and 104 older youth who have dropped out of formal schooling receive remedial education. And more than 80 other children take advantage of daily activities and sports programs.

Thanks to Salesian Missions donors, whose support helped fund daily meals before the pandemic, staff at the Center have been able to continue and expand the program uninterrupted.

In Juba, missionaries at Don Bosco Gumbo are feeding 275 hungry families living in a nearby camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs). With support from Salesian Missions donors, they can provide each of these households with 10 kg of ground flour, 1 kg of salt, 1 liter of cooking oil and 5 kgs of beans each month. They have also purchased and distributed plastic roofing sheets, blankets, floor mats, soap and sanitary plastic jugs to transport clean water.

In total, the IDP camp houses 9,742 people, the majority of whom are women and children with no husbands or fathers; the elderly; and orphans. Missionaries are grateful for the opportunity to assist the most vulnerable among them.

The Don Bosco Community Center, one of only a few food pantries in the Village of Port Chester, New York, is providing an average of 230 meals a day to support people who are unable to shop because of the stay home order and the closure of local businesses. In addition to the food program, St. John Bosco Parish provides awareness of prevention measures, home delivery of food, making and distributing masks, online counseling, online classes, transport of the sick to hospitals and resources for accommodation of the sick or homeless.

Students of the “Integrated Design, Engineering & Art” (IDEA) technology program at Salesian “Bosco Tech” in Rosemead, California, U.S., have designed and are producing face protection devices with the school’s 3D printers for medical personnel.

Beauty Mwansa, 22, is out of work due to the pandemic—which means her family struggles to eat. Thanks to a recent food shipment facilitated by Salesian Missions and Feed My Starving Children, she knows they can depend on at least one hearty meal per day.

Salesian Missions donors helped fund the shipping costs of these donated meals, which arrived in May. Mary Help of Christians in Kasama arranged distribution to families in need like Beauty’s—as well as to orphans, the blind and other vulnerable residents.