Selfless Solidarity in Pakistan
Today, more than 3.5 million people—many of them precious children—have been uprooted, displaced and deeply affected by conflict in Afghanistan. In neighboring Pakistan, at Don Bosco Lahore in Peshawar, our dedicated Salesian missionaries recently welcomed hundreds of refugee families with open arms … and crucial support.
“In 2021 alone, thousands of Afghans were displaced by conflict and its ongoing effects,” says Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “And they are still desperately in need of humanitarian relief, whether they remain at home or flee across the border into Iran or Pakistan.
“I am so happy to say that we are currently providing shelter and other basic necessities for 1,500 people,” he continues. “And we couldn’t have done it without the gracious support of our many donors.”
Since 1998, when they first arrived in Pakistan, Salesian missionaries have provided quality educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth. Throughout the country, Salesian-run schools provide economic benefits, scholarships and accommodations for students from the poorest families—and this accessibility often serves as an incentive for parents to send their children to school when they otherwise might have no choice but to send them to work.
“Offering humanitarian aid to refugee families is a logical extension to our missionaries’ work on behalf of the poor,” says Fr. Gus. “Not only is it the right thing to do, but it models the ideals of Don Bosco and our Catholic faith for our students, so they may carry those ideals forward into the world.”
In collaboration with Peshawar authorities and city administration, Salesian missionaries and staff coordinated and distributed the aid, which benefits families of various sizes.
Mr. Vincent, who coordinated these efforts, says “the Christian community of Peshawar has rallied around the value of solidarity. We felt proud that we could selflessly help people of other religions in a spirit of universal brotherhood.”
“Education is crucial not only to end poverty, but also to address the root causes of war and conflict,” Fr. Gus concludes. “So is compassion. This initiative demonstrates the positive benefits of both.”
Our mission brings job skills, education and teaches civility and tolerance to refugees fleeing conflict. What’s your mission?