Salesian Missions is committed to improving the wellbeing of children and families in Uganda, a country rebuilding after decades of war, as well as facing the serious increase of HIV/AIDS, which left millions of children orphaned.

Close to 67 percent of Ugandans are either poor or highly vulnerable to poverty, according to UNICEF. While the country has seen some economic growth as well as improvement in its Human Development Index ranking over the last 20 years, the country still ranks near the bottom at 163 out of 188 countries. After decades of war left many displaced, the people of Uganda face many significant challenges as they work to rebuild their country.

More Missions In Uganda

Provide technical and vocational training

While approximately 86 percent of Uganda’s 34 million inhabitants make their living farming, more youth are seeking jobs in urban areas often leaving small agricultural plots of land in rural areas uncultivated. Salesian missionaries facilitate an agriculture project on 15 acres of land on the grounds of the Don Bosco Children and Life Mission located in the town of Namugongo, 10 miles northeast of the city of Kampala. The program provides agricultural education to 140 students who are taught new skills while being encouraged to farm the land. Food grown through the program feeds the students and surrounding communities.

With the addition of more quality teachers, the agriculture program continues to expand its training. The goal of the school is to provide young farmers with a basic education as well as advanced studies in the latest agricultural practices and modern technologies while moving towards efficiency in farming by exploring and testing new techniques in agriculture, horticulture, floriculture and animal husbandry.

In addition, construction on a new wing for the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center Namaliga, located in the town of Bombo in central Uganda, was completed thanks to donors from Salesian Missions. The new wing consists of offices for 17 staff members and classrooms for 186 students and will allow for more job training courses in trades such as carpentry, plumbing and tailoring.

The training center already offers a number of courses in construction, electrical installation, electrical repair, electronics, hospitality, tourism, materials development and textiles. Because Salesian missionaries live in the communities in which they work, they are able to develop courses that give students the skills necessary to meet the demands of the local job market. The goal is to help each student transition out of the classroom directly into work.

Respond to refugee needs

Salesian missionaries provide a range of pastoral, social development and educational initiatives to refugees living in Palabek Refugees Settlement in northern Uganda. The refugee settlement is currently hosting 42,000 people with an average of 300 new refugees arriving each week from South Sudan. It was officially set up in April 2016 to reduce congestion in larger refugee camps in the northwestern corner of Uganda.

Uganda hosts close to 1.3 million refugees, the majority coming from South Sudan. Others are fleeing from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Somalia, Burundi and other countries. Father Lazar Arasu, a Salesian missionary overseeing the work at Palabek, has noted that in addition to Palabek, other large camps are situated in the northwest districts such as Arua, Yumbe, Adjumani and Moyo, each hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees.

Salesian missionaries at the settlement are offering much-needed psychosocial support and pastoral care for thousands of Christian residents. They also operate four nursery schools that educate more than 1,000 children. In addition, there are over 700 children attending Salesian primary and secondary schools, and more than 700 families are supported by various other initiatives.

Salesian missionaries have launched the new vocational training center to offer life skills and other training to help young refugees prepare for employment. Thousands of refugees, representatives of non-governmental organizations and a government delegation participated in the opening ceremonies celebrating the center.

Young refugees are able to attend vocational training courses for free. Depending on the discipline, some courses will run for 3-6 months while others will run as long as a year. Salesian missionaries have also set up a job placement office which will help students make contact with companies that are hiring, prepare resumes and prep for interviews, and find internships and on-site training opportunities.

The vocational training center currently has 450 students, 400 of whom are refugees and 50 are host community Ugandans. The majority of students are young women and mothers who are finally having an opportunity to learn a skill. They are taking courses in tailoring, cosmetology and salon services such as hair dressing. Young men are learning automobile mechanics and motorcycle repair training. Agriculture classes are taught to all students no matter their primary area of study.

The center, like the four nursery schools and nine primary schools operated by Salesian missionaries at Palabek, also offers a food program so students are ensured one hot meal a day. Salesian Missions has provided funding in the past to help support 60 students who are accessing the feeding program in the Palabek Salesian schools.

Provide youth centers and safe activities

At Don Bosco Children and Life Mission located just outside of Kampala, more than 200 at-risk boys ages 8 to 17 receive a wide range of services. The program offers primary, secondary and technical education along with special programs. Here, Salesian missionaries launched the Don Bosco Band for at-risk youth in the region. Music lessons were brought to the school after Salesian missionaries started a new initiative teaching a small group of students to play the trumpet. Many of the children attending the primary school wanted to learn and enrolled in the program. Soon a small class turned to more than 50 children.

The new music program was so successful that the number of musicians and the number of trumpets utilized increased until soon they were able to form a school band. Initially, the course was only on Sundays and lasted two hours. Some of the children that were learning the music liked it so much that they started to teach their friends the best way to play the trumpet. By the end of the school year so many students were learning that they were able to take part in a concert along with older and more experienced students.

As the students continued to make progress and their repertoire expanded, the band became increasingly skilled and other instruments were added. Today, the Don Bosco Band currently consists of a series of trumpets, trombones, tubas, a French horn, flutes, clarinets, drums, bass drums, cymbals and a saxophone. Salesian missionaries provide the instruments and the instruction as part of their overall educational program. The goal is for youth to develop their talents, gain self-confidence and enjoy the activity with their peers. The band is made up exclusively of students of the school and occasionally gives concerts to demonstrate the progress of the students.

Deliver life-saving meals

Students in Uganda have access to better nutrition through shipments of fortified rice-meals to Salesian programs and schools. A donation totaling 855,360 meals was made possible through an ongoing partnership between Salesian Missions and Rise Against Hunger, an international relief organization that provides food and life-saving aid to the world’s most vulnerable.

The meals are provided to students during the school day and serve as an incentive for families to send their children to school. As a result of the donation, students are thriving. Many have gained weight, suffer fewer illnesses and are more focused on their studies. Teachers are seeing better student performance in class as well as less conflict among students.

In addition, more than 300 poor youth at the Don Bosco Children and Life Missions (Don Bosco CALM) orphanage and Don Bosco Primary School, located in the town of Namugongo just 10 miles northeast of the city of Kampala in Central Uganda, have access to better nutrition thanks to the partnership between Salesian Missions and Rise Against Hunger.

Close to 77,500 meals were provided to youth in the programs over the third and fourth quarter of 2018. In addition, 64 individuals were trained in the cooking and preparation of the meals. Among the beneficiaries were children from the local refugee camp, which hosts children and families who have fled from South Sudan, Burundi and Rwanda. These children and those in the surrounding communities need access to healthy nutrition for their health and also to have the energy to be able to participate in education and other social programs.

In the first quarter of 2019, more than 1,700 poor youth had access to better nutrition thanks to a rice-meal shipment from Rise Against Hunger. The rice-meals were shared with Don Bosco Children and Life Mission (Don Bosco CALM) and Don Bosco Primary School in the town of Namugongo and St. Bakita Primary School in Bombo. The donation was also shared with students at the Salesian Bombo Vocational Training Center and Kamuli Vocational Training Center.

Deliver essential equipment & supplies

Students in three Salesian communities in Uganda received soccer equipment and access to better nutrition through an ongoing partnership between Salesian Missions and Rise Against Hunger, an international relief organization that provides food and aid to the world’s most vulnerable. One recent Rise Against Hunger shipment contained 54 boxes of soccer clothing and equipment. Sports programs are an integral part of many Salesian centers around the globe and encourage teamwork while imparting valuable leadership skills. They also teach important social skills and provide opportunities for participants to grow and mature.

One donation, coordinated by Salesian Missions, made by generous donors allowed four schools in Uganda to have new textbooks. The schools serve vulnerable children and focus on ending the cycle of poverty through education and opportunities. Don Bosco Children and Life Mission, St. Mary’s Secondary School, St. Joseph’s Primary School and Sacred Heart Sisters School will utilize the books for years to come.

More than 550 boxes of books were donated to the four schools, covering a variety of subjects including geography, science and music, and have been made available in the classrooms and school libraries at these primary and secondary institutions.

Improve health services

Salesian Missions is committed to improving the wellbeing of children and families in Uganda, a country rebuilding after decades of war. It is also facing the serious increase of HIV/AIDS cases which has left millions of children orphaned. Recently, Salesian Missions donors provided the Don Bosco Children and Life Mission the funding to support a Salesian program that helps children living in poverty who are HIV positive.

The funding is providing educational courses, medical treatment, medicines and nutritional meals for youth living with HIV/AIDS. These youth are also eligible to receive counseling, recreation opportunities, medical observation and critical antiretroviral therapy treatments (ART). The Salesian program has been particularly effective because youth are able to study and build peer relationships in a safe and supportive environment free from the stigma and rejection they previously encountered.

Improve infrastructure

Thanks to funding Salesian Missions received from a generous donor, two new kindergarten classrooms have been built at the Salesian-run St. Joseph Primary School Namaliga, in the town of Bombo in central Uganda. The initial project, which was launched in 2015, called for one new classroom. But after an assessment of student enrollment, it was decided that two classrooms were needed, and it was more efficient and economical to build two classrooms at the same time.

During the 2015-2016 school year, 170 children were enrolled at the primary school with the number expected to rise. Before the project was launched, the two existing kindergarten classes at the elementary school were filled beyond capacity. The crowded classrooms made it challenging for students to learn and difficult for teachers to provide the individual attention students need most. In addition, the limited space reduced the number of new students the school could accept.

In addition, Giacomo Comino, a Salesian missionary living in Fossano, a town in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, has launched a new project to help support refugees in the Palabek Refugee Settlement in northern Uganda. Comino’s goal is to help refugees better learn a trade and have the equipment necessary to do so. Often, students at the refugee settlement do not have the tools to practice their trade or make necessary repairs. Comino is aiming to change that by sending boxes of metal, computers, mixers, shovels, spades and even a forklift that will be used to lift loads.

Comino envisions refugees being able to set up small workshops so they can continue expanding their technical skills in their chosen trade in order to begin earning a living. The goal is to grant refugees the dignity of earning a living and supporting themselves and their community.


From Uganda

From Uganda

UGANDA: More than 1,700 youth access better nutrition at Salesian programs thanks to Rise Against Hunger rice-meals

The rice-meal shipment from Rise Against Hunger improved the lives and health of students at five Salesian programs in Uganda. NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Aug. 7, 2019) More than 1,700 poor youth in Uganda in the first quarter of 2019 had a

WORLD REFUGEE DAY: Salesian Missions highlights technical skills training and social programs for refugees

Salesian programs in Egypt, Kenya and Uganda highlight this year’s theme of taking big and small steps in solidarity with refugees. NEW ROCHELLE, NY (June 20, 2019) Salesian Missions stands with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and

GLOBAL: Salesian Missions launched its annual Loaves and Fishes fundraiser to support critical aid shipments to programs around the globe

For every dollar a donor contributes, Salesian Missions is able to ship $14 worth of critical goods to its programs in more than 130 countries around the globe. NEW ROCHELLE, NY (May 16, 2019) Salesian Missions, the U.S. developme

From Hunger to Hope

“I remember the first time I met Vianny,” recalls Father Elie Nyandwi. “I greeted him but he did not answer.” This reticent young boy, from a deeply impoverished family in rural Butambala, Uganda, was so desperately hungry

UGANDA: Close to 77,500 meals provided to poor youth at Don Bosco Children and Life Mission and Don Bosco Primary School thanks to Rise Against Hunger rice-meal shipment

The fortified rice-meals are helping youth have the energy to focus on their studies and engage with their peers. NEW ROCHELLE, NY (April 3, 2019) More than 300 poor youth at the Don Bosco Children and Life Mission (Don Bosco CALM

Tools of Love for Refugees in Uganda

Since April 2016, thousands of South Sudanese refugees have flooded across the northern Ugandan border into Palabek—where they join, as of now, at least 36,000 others seeking relief from violence, drought and famine in their own

Rebuilding Lives in the Palabek Refugee Settlement

In February, we highlighted the early efforts of our missionaries serving in Uganda’s Palabek refugee settlement. In the few short months since, four Salesian priests have made remarkable strides: equipping residents to live di

UGANDA: Donations provide liturgical items and school uniforms for students attending Don Bosco Primary School

The donations helped support primarily street children, orphans, refugees and children from other vulnerable situations. NEW ROCHELLE, NY (July 19, 2018) Donations provided through Salesian Missions were able to provide choir robe

Feeding Starving Street Children around the Globe

Due to ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, recession in Europe, natural disasters in Asia and Africa, and many other factors, more and more children have nowhere else to live but on the street. In more than 130 countries around

(National Catholic Reporter) Salesian-run ministries in Uganda aid South Sudanese fleeing violence

PALABEK REFUGEE CAMP, UGANDA Nov. 3, 2017 (Excerpt) As civil war escalates in South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, refugees fleeing violence gather over the border in northern Uganda to ask God for peace. They sing hymns an

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Salesian Missions includes agriculture in its vocational training programs – to ensure that youth of Rwanda learn better agricultural practices as well as keep the school self-sustaining in the face of the country’s food shortages.

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Salesian Missions includes agriculture in its vocational training programs – to ensure that youth of Rwanda learn better agricultural practices as well as keep the school self-sustaining in the face of the country’s food shortages.

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Salesian Missions includes agriculture in its vocational training programs – to ensure that youth of Rwanda learn better agricultural practices as well as keep the school self-sustaining in the face of the country’s food shortages.

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