Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: August 18, 2020

EAST TIMOR: Salesian Missions donors provide Don Bosco Foundation funding for food support in response to coronavirus pandemic

Over three months, a total of 1,174 beneficiaries were supported through these relief efforts 

NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Aug18, 2020) Don Bosco Foundation in East Timor was able to provide food support for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic thanks to funding from Salesian Missions donors. Don Bosco Foundation collaborated with Salesian parishes to identify those most in need, including widows, the elderly, those living in poverty, those with disabilities and orphans. 

Support was provided to people in three Salesian parishes including Mary Help of Christian Parish in Dili, Saint Peter and Paul Parish in Lospalos, and Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Venilale. Over three months, a total of 1,174 beneficiaries were supported through these relief efforts. 

One of the people supported by the donation is Joana da Costa, who is a widow with seven children. Her husband passed away five years ago from an illness. Since then, she has had to work harder and harder with the responsibility of being both mother and father to the family. 

She said, “ln order to feed my kids and pay for their school needs, I am working as a cleaner in one company near my house. The money I’m earning isn’t enough to cover my family’s needs so I’m also working an additional job washing clothes for local families. I also started a small bakery. I finally was able to feed my children as well as have the money for other needs. Unfortunately, during these last few months, I could no longer work because of the pandemic. It caused us much hardship and stress. Thanks to the support of the Don Bosco Foundation, I was able to feed my family.” 

Salesian missionaries are known for their education programs for youth around the globe. With countless elementary, secondary and university level educational centers, as well as training and certification programs, Salesian missionaries are helping to provide a direct path out of poverty for many youth and their families. Because they live in the communities in which they work, they are perfectly positioned to help in times of crisis by providing relief materials and support to local populations. 

East Timor is home to 1.1 million people and according to the Human Development Index, the country ranked 132 out of 189 for life expectancy, access to education and standard of living in 2018. The World Bank estimates that East Timor has close to 49 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. 

Salesian missionaries in East Timor have been providing programs to help residents recover and rebuild in the wake of a devastating civil war in the country 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. 

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