Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: April 30, 2020

EAST TIMOR: More than 1,200 youth attending Salesian schools and youth centers received better nutrition thanks to Rise Against Hunger rice-meals

The fortified rice-meals have helped to nourish poor youth at Salesian schools and centers.

NEW ROCHELLE, NY (April 30, 2020) More than 1,200 youth attending Salesian schools and youth centers in East Timor had better nutrition 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 shipment, which arrived in the last quarter of 2019, provided donated rice-meals to ensure students had a healthy meal during the school day.

Don Bosco Technical School Fatumaca, Don Bosco Technical High School Maliana, Don Bosco Training Center of Comoro, Don Bosco Laga Youth Center, Don Bosco Youth Center Baucau and Don Bosco Lospalos Orphanage were all recipients of the donation.
“Hungry students have trouble focusing on their studies and learning,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Proper nutrition is needed to fully take part in classroom and in-field training. Prepared students are more likely to learn valuable skills that will help them gain employment and break the cycle of poverty in their lives while enabling them to give back to their communities.”

Salesian missionaries in East Timor have been providing programs to help residents recover and rebuild in the wake of a devastating civil war that claimed countless lives, decimated entire communities and resulted in living conditions that are among the worst in the world. Now that the violence has subsided, efforts are being focused on helping the poor, restoring hope and providing new opportunities for the future.

In the city of Maliana, Don Bosco Technical High School is an important educational center. It serves more than 250 students, 11 percent of whom are girls, who take three-year courses in carpentry, mechanics or electronics. Each year there are more than 400 applications for the 84 student spots. Final year students are required to design and produce a product that encompasses much of what they have learned over the previous three years.

Rise Against Hunger partners with Salesian Missions, which works to identify needs and coordinate delivery of 40-foot shipping containers full of meals, supplemented with additional supplies when available. The partnership was developed in 2011, and since that time shipments have been successfully delivered to 20 countries around the globe. The meals and life-saving aid have helped to nourish poor youth at Salesian schools and programs and care for those in need of emergency aid during times of war, natural disasters and health crises.

East Timor is home to 1.26 million people and according to the Human Development Index, the country ranked 132 out of 188 for life expectancy, access to education and standard of living in 2018. The World Bank estimates that East Timor has close to 42 percent of its population living in poverty with over one-third of the population regularly experiencing food shortages. In addition, close to 50 percent of the population is illiterate.

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