Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: September 12, 2022

A Meaningful Gift from the Heart

Every morning, Father Elie Nyandwi rises before dawn with the same two questions on his mind: Do we have enough food to feed the children today? And will we have the resources we need to continue? Thanks in part to a new partnership between Salesian Missions and a generous U.S.-based benefactor, the answer to both is “yes.”

Fr. Elie manages both the orphanage and the primary school at Don Bosco Children and Life Missions (Don Bosco CALM) in Namugongo, Uganda—a responsibility he has held since 2003. And his work is vital.

Although Ugandans have experienced notable improvements in life expectancy, educational achievement, and standard of living during the last 20 years, the country still ranks 163rd out of 188 countries as measured by the U.N.’s Human Development Index. Further, millions of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS still lack the support and guidance they need to overcome their circumstances and build better futures for themselves.

That’s where Don Bosco CALM comes in. Despite financial challenges and a lack of supportive funding from the Ugandan government, its programs serve more than 200 children, many of whom have struggled with poverty, abandonment, homelessness and HIV-related illnesses. Here, participants receive a wide range of services, including primary, secondary and technical education along with special enrichment programs, medical care, recreational opportunities, and more.

“Our financial, human and logistic resources are scarce,” Fr. Elie explains. “We face difficulty in feeding children, paying for their school fees, scholastic materials, medical assistance and paying salaries for our workers.” Still, he is hard-pressed to turn away any child who needs assistance … a fact noted by the D.D. Lynch Family Foundation.

Based in Raleigh, N.C., the foundation partners with Catholic organizations like Salesian Missions in order to address and alleviate human suffering around the world. With funding from the foundation, Fr. Elie and his staff recently purchased five cows that will provide milk to nourish the children under their care.

A dairy barn, veterinarian and full-time caretaker were previously funded by the foundation to shelter and care for the cows. The vision is to grow the herd in order to build long-term sustainability and so far, four of the cows are already expecting calves!

“This increased milk productivity will not only prevent malnutrition among the children, but will also free up financial resources so staff at Don Bosco CALM can redirect their efforts toward other areas of need,” says Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions.

“Having these cows, our organization can now breathe a little easier and save money for solving some of the children’s concurrent problems,” Fr. Elie agrees. “We are so grateful for this meaningful gift from the heart.”

Learn more about our work in Uganda.

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