Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: November 05, 2021

Addressing Hunger Around the World

Despite positive economic growth and recent improvements to quality of life, food insecurity and malnutrition remain stubborn adversaries in the fight against poverty and hunger in Rwanda—where more than 60 percent of the population still lives on less than $1.25 per day. For our Salesian missionaries who serve there, school-based feeding programs are critical in their efforts to prevail over both.

Agriculture is the main source of food and income for the majority of Rwanda’s people. Unfortunately, erosion, poor-quality soil, and a lack of modern technology and cultivation practices mean that subsistence farming is the norm. As a result, millions of children and families continue to face critical food shortages.

“Many of these families can only afford to eat one meal a day,” says Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, “and their low purchasing power means those meals generally aren’t well-balanced. Children are therefore highly vulnerable to malnutrition and other adverse effects.”

This is why missionaries strive to provide daily meals for students whenever possible. “Education is one of the most important factors in determining whether a child can build a better future,” Fr. Gus explains. “But when food is scarce at home, and students come to school hungry, they’re at an immediate disadvantage. At best, they have trouble concentrating and learning. At worst, they may drop out—either because they’re not making good progress, or their parents need them to help bring in some money to survive. This perpetuates the cycle of poverty for families, and for the country as a whole.”

Sadly, these issues are not unique to Rwanda. Statistics show that 73 million children around the world go to school on empty stomachs—and that was before the global pandemic pushed vulnerable families even further into poverty.

Fortunately—thanks to ongoing partnerships with international relief organizations such as Rise Against Hunger and our established presence in countries around the globe—tons of food are already on the ground and waiting to be distributed. The biggest challenge is getting it into the hands of those who need it most.

You can help us overcome this obstacle.

Every November, Salesian Missions launches our Annual Food Distribution Appeal—and we invite friends like you to be part of it. The funds we raise during this crucial campaign cover the costs of transportation, so that we can move those meals from the shipping docks to schools and other vital programs around the world.

Just a single dollar can provide 20 times that amount in nourishment! That means that just one $10 donation helps us transport $200 worth of food; $25 immediately becomes $500; and $50 can distribute $1,000 worth of fortified meals.

The impact of your generosity is significant. Since we first partnered with Rise Against Hunger in 2011, kind friends like you have helped us feed tens of thousands of desperately hungry children and families in countries around the globe. This life-saving aid has nourished students in Salesian-run schools, as well as members of the broader community during times of crisis and disaster.

In Rwanda specifically, hundreds of children who participate in our programs at the Don Bosco Gatenga Center in Kigali no longer worry about being hungry. Thanks to our partners and our donors, youth who board and attend school there receive at least one nutritious meal a day. In addition, donated funds helped to expand an on-site farm.

“Don Bosco Gatenga’s model is a self-sustaining one,” says Fr. Gus. “The farm is designed to feed students, but recent demand has risen so sharply that existing plots were inadequate to meet daily needs. The generosity of our donors is already making a lasting difference.”

For just a few dollars in support of our Annual Food Distribution Appeal, you can make a lasting difference, too!

Our mission transforms every $1 you can give into $20 of life-saving food. Please join us in this modern day Loaves and Fishes miracle!

Learn more about our work in Rwanda.

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