CAMBODIA: 650 Salesian technical students have better nutrition thanks to Rise Against Hunger donated rice-meals
The fortified rice-meals have helped to nourish poor youth at three Salesian technical schools.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Jan. 6, 2020) Students in technical skills training programs supported by the Don Bosco Foundation of Cambodia had access to proper nutrition in the second quarter of 2019 thanks to a partnership between Salesian Missions and Rise Against Hunger, an international relief organization that provides food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable.
The rice-meal donations were distributed to 650 students at Don Bosco Technical and Hotel School Sihanoukville, Don Bosco Technical School Phnom Penh, and Don Bosco Technical School Kep. Beneficiaries included vocational and technical students who are studying to gain the skills needed for long-term employment. The Salesian schools provide technical skills training for young people from poor families and also offer boarding opportunities for those who find it difficult to rent a room on their own.
The Don Bosco schools are providing technical education for poor youth in subjects including electrical, mechanical, welding, automotive, electronics, computer and information technology, printing, media communication, hospitality and tourism. After students graduate, they are qualified for jobs that offer a decent salary, allowing them to support themselves and their families and break the cycle of poverty.
“Rise Against Hunger meals are very important to our mission. We are able to reduce our expenses by not buying rice from the local market,” explains Father Roel Soto, delegation superior of Don Bosco Foundation of Cambodia and rector of Don Bosco Technical School Phnom Penh. “With this donation, we are able to use that funding for other necessary projects that provide us income in order to sustain our projects and upgrades for our training materials.”
One of the students who benefited from the rice-meal donation was Sreynam Iech, a 20-year-old, second-year student taking courses in the secretarial department of the Don Bosco Technical School Sihanoukville. Iech is a boarder student and lives at the school. She is the youngest of eight siblings and her parents are farmers.
Iech had to ride her bicycle 12 km each way to high school, which was an obstacle for her and many youth in her village. Many did not continue in school because of the distance, but Iech was focused on her studies. After graduation, she met staff from Don Bosco Technical School and wanted to continue her education.
Now Iech lives at the school and is able to have the Rise Against Hunger rice-meals. She shares communal meals with her friends and is able to maintain proper nutrition so she can focus on her secretarial courses. Iech also helps the cook prepare the meals and teaches children every evening and during the weekend. This year is her last year before graduation, and she is looking forward to her future.
According to the World Bank, poverty continues to fall in Cambodia. In 2017, the poverty rate was close to 14 percent compared to 47.8 percent in 2007. About 90 percent of the poor live in the countryside. While Cambodia has achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving poverty in 2009, the vast majority of families who escaped poverty were only able to do so by a small margin. Around 4.5 million people remain near-poor, vulnerable to falling back into poverty when exposed to economic and other external challenges.
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