Uganda

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.

The number of Ugandans living below the poverty line declined from 31.1 percent in 2006 to 19.7 percent in 2013, where it stands today. 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 at Don Bosco Palabek, within the Palabek Refugee Settlement, are providing much needed psycho-social support and pastoral care for thousands of Christian residents. They also operate four nursery schools that educated 743 students in 2019 with 222 graduating at the end of the year. Currently, there are 521 students in the four kindergartens. Salesian missionaries also started the Child Sponsorship program in 2019 with 63 refugee students, providing the financial support for them to attend primary, secondary and vocational schools.

Uganda has become home for more than 1.3 million refugees—82 percent of whom are women and children—in the wake of the ongoing conflict in South Sudan, according to the UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency. Millions have fled South Sudan and nearly 400,000 have died as a result of armed clashes. Many of those who have fled to Uganda have taken refuge at the Palabek Refugee Settlement in northern Uganda.

According to UNHCR, Palabek is currently home to nearly 46,000 refugees and asylum seekers. It was officially set up in April 2016 to reduce congestion in larger refugee camps in the northwestern corner of Uganda. Several agencies are involved in providing food and education within Palabek.

Helping to ensure refugees are learning skills for employment, Salesian missionaries also operate a vocational training center to offer life skills and other training. Depending on the discipline, some courses run for 3-6 months while others run as long as a year. Salesian missionaries have also set up a job placement office that helps 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 educated 230 students in 2019 with193 students completing their courses and graduating by the end of the year. Young women graduated from courses in tailoring and salon services such as hairdressing. Young men studied automobile mechanics, motorcycle repair training and solar installation. Agriculture classes are also taught to all students no matter their primary area of study.

To further ensure refugees can earn a living, Salesian missionaries are helping refugees with saving and lending with 20 village savings groups formed and eight farmers groups that were provided seeds and farm tools within the settlement. Men, women and youth are engaged in the village savings groups.

Through saving meetings, key issues like gender-based violence prevention, business strategy, farming and nutrition, and other topics were discussed. Most of the members have appreciated the approach because they are able to share important information with each other for the benefit of individuals, their families and the community at large. Through the group formation and interventions at the zone level (neighborhoods) of the settlement, there is peace.

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 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.

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. Donations continued into the third quarter of 2019 with rice-meals sent to feed youth in programs connected to Don Bosco CALM.

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 Now, 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 from generous donors and coordinated by Salesian Missions 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.

Donor funding through Salesian Missions also provided choir robes, liturgical items and new school uniforms for students attending Don Bosco Primary School in Namugongo. The students are part of the Salesian-run Children and Life Mission (CALM). Salesian missionaries have been operating CALM, located in Namugongo, just 10 miles northeast of the city of Kampala in Central Uganda, since 2006.

Two separate donations were able to help support the school. One donation provided the funding for 150 choir robes and items for the church such as a monstrance, church bells, an audio mixer amplifier and two microphones. Another donation provided 150 children new school uniforms. The children attending the school are between 7 and 18 years old and are primarily street children, orphans, refugees and children from other vulnerable situations.

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.

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From Uganda

UGANDA: Poor youth attending programs at Don Bosco Children and Life Mission receive healthy nutrition thanks to donation of Rise Against Hunger rice-meals

The rice-meal shipment from Rise Against Hunger improved the lives and health of youth at Salesian programs in Uganda. NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Jan. 2, 2020) Poor youth in Uganda had access to better nutrition thanks to a partnership bet

GLOBAL: Salesian Missions launches Annual Food Distribution Appeal, delivering critical food aid to those most in need

For every dollar a donor contributes, Salesian Missions is able to deliver $20 worth of critical food aid to its programs in more than 130 countries around the globe. NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Dec. 10, 2019) Salesian Missions has launched

WORLD AIDS DAY: Salesian Missions highlights programs that provide HIV/AIDS education and health services

Programs in India, Ivory Coast and Uganda illustrate the work of Salesians around the globe who are providing services and supports for those affected by HIV/AIDS.    NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Dec. 1, 2019) Salesian Missions, the U.S. d

WORLD FOOD DAY: Salesian Missions highlights feeding programs around the globe that ensure students have healthy diets

Feeding programs in Burundi, Cambodia, East Timor and Uganda illustrate the work of Salesians around the globe that support this year’s theme, which is focused on healthy diets. NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Oct. 16, 2019) Salesian Missions

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

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Agriculture Training Programs

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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Technology Program

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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