Venezuela

Venezuela is experiencing the worst economic crisis in its history, with an inflation rate of more than 400 percent and a volatile exchange rate. The World Bank, as well as the latest data provided by the Venezuela Living Conditions Survey in 2016, found around 81 percent of Venezuelan households are now living in income poverty, up from 75.6 percent in 2015. This has led to political and social unrest in the country.

Salesian missionaries continue their work in the country despite volatile conditions. They aim to provide education, workforce development and social development services to poor youth and their families.

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Build orphanages & shelters for homeless youth

Venezuela is facing an increase in corruption, prices and a scarcity of goods. As a result, the country is dealing with insecurity and violence. CNN Money released an article that noted Venezuela has lost half of its economy since 2013. According to the article, new figures published by the International Monetary Fund indicate that unemployment will reach 30 percent and prices on all types of goods in the country will rise 13,000 percent.

A Latin American Herald Tribune article indicated that shelters for abandoned or orphaned children have reported being overcrowded, but that requests from relatives and others housing homeless children continue.

Two Salesian organizations—Red de Casas Don Bosco and the Patio Abierto Don Bosco—aim to improve the lives of street children by connecting them with shelter, meeting their basic needs and providing education. For many, living on the street and trying to make a meager living to eat has become a way of life. Some want access to programming while others want to remain on the street, but Salesian missionaries work to provide the services they can and meet youth where they are in life.

Red de Casas Don Bosco offers shelter to more than 1,300 street children across the country, thanks to 10 Salesian houses. These houses are part of a group of 86 non-governmental shelters, plus 27 operated by the state. In total, these shelters could house as many as 5,000 children and teens referred there by courts.

Provide youth centers & safe activities

Salesian centers in various locations across Venezuela held summer oratories where children felt welcomed, loved and respected. Children were able to participate in music, theater, drawing, sports and dance workshops. At the end of this festive and joyful week, the children were able to celebrate Catholic Mass with their peers.

The Salesian center in the Guajira peninsula in northwestern Venezuela also launched the “Oratory on Vacation,” which had young volunteers visiting several homes to connect with indigenous families in rural areas who face extreme poverty and widespread violence. The goal was to bring hope to the Venezuelan people who are cut off from other populations and assistance.

Deliver life-saving meals

Salesian missionaries operate a feeding program at the “La Dolorita” Salesian Technical & Vocational School in the outskirts of Caracas. Known as the “Communal Pots & Pans” program, it provides meals to those most in need in the community, including the elderly, families and at-risk youth.

Caritas Venezuela, another Catholic organization operating in Venezuela, has issued a warning that some 280,000 children could die of malnutrition due to food shortages amidst the country’s grave economic crisis. In a new report, Caritas noted that both the quantity and quality of food has dropped across Venezuela, due to the chronic shortage of products available and high inflation rates.

Salesian feeding campaigns started to address the number of families already suffering from increased food shortages and the low incomes that limited their purchasing power as prices began to rise in the country. This hunger has caused the elderly and children to be sick and unable to engage in their normal activities. Many were physically weak and unable to mentally focus. Feeding programs brought those most at risk back into the social fold of Salesian programs, allowing people to engage with their neighbors, friends and other community members.

Improve health services

Despite the ongoing political, social and economic challenges in Venezuela, Salesian missionaries continue providing education and social supports across the country. On March 7, Salesian missionaries held a health day at the Domenic Savio Youth Center in Duaca.

Twelve doctors from different specialties were available and saw more than 600 people, providing check-ups, analysis and diagnosis. The Salesian Portugal Foundation sent a donation of medicines for the event. Thanks to this contribution, together with the evaluations and diagnoses, many patients received medications for their illnesses. However, much remains to be done in assisting patients with chronic diseases.

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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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Feed a Child

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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Any goods, services, or funds provided by Salesian Missions to programs located in this country were administered in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.