Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: January 08, 2020

EAST TIMOR: Youth attending Don Bosco Technical School Fatumaca have access to proper nutrition thanks to Rise Against Hunger rice-meals

The rice-meal shipment from Rise Against Hunger improved the lives and health of youth attending Salesian technical education courses.

NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Jan. 8, 2020) Youth attending Don Bosco Technical School Fatumaca in East Timor have access to better nutrition thanks to a partnership between Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, and Rise Against Hunger, an international relief organization that provides food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable. The shipment was made in the third quarter of 2019.

Salesian missionaries provide educational and social development services at the Salesian complex Don Bosco Fatumaca. Poor youth are able to access a range of programs including health services, nutrition, education and general support services. The school also offers room and board for students who need on-campus housing.

Don Bosco Technical School Fatumaca provides vocational education that helps youth gain an education and prepare for the future. More than 250 students, 11 percent of whom are girls, attend the school taking three-year courses in carpentry, mechanics and electronics. Each year there are more than 400 applications for 84 student spots. Final year students are required to design and produce a product that embraces much of what they have learned over the previous three years.

“The Rise Against Hunger meals are supporting us to meet the basic needs of youth in our programs and enabling them to have full stomachs in order to study and have the energy to take part in different activities to prepare for the future,” says Father Gui Da Silva. “We saw many more students graduate this past year and able to get a job immediately or continue on with us for advanced studies. I enjoy being able to follow up with students and see how they are excelling since we have been providing the Rise Against Hunger rice-meals.”

One of the beneficiaries, 20-year-old Geovanio Goncalves, is very grateful to be studying at Don Bosco Technical School. He is working hard to complete his program of study. The Rise Against Hunger meals ensure that he had enough to eat so he can focus on attending school and having the energy to study. Goncalves admitted there were times that he had to fight for just enough to eat because of the political instability on East Timor. He’s glad now that he’s in a supportive environment and working towards a brighter future.

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 focused on helping the poor, restoring hope and providing new opportunities for the future.

Rise Against Hunger partners with Salesian Missions, which works to identify needs and coordinate delivery of 40-foot shipping containers full of meals and 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 as well as 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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