ESWATINI (SWAZILAND): Youth receive nutritious meals during pandemic
720 youth in Manzini Youth Care programs receive rice-meals thanks to Rise Against Hunger shipment.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Nov. 29, 2021) Youth taking part in Manzini Youth Care programs, located in the city of Manzini in Eswatini (Swaziland), have better nutrition thanks to an ongoing 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-saving aid to the world’s most vulnerable. During 2020, the rice-meals were provided to a Salesian vocational training center, a primary school, two soup kitchens, two orphanages, and communities around Manzini.
The meals helped ensure all those taking part in Salesian programs had the proper nutrition to enable them to fully take part in the programs and improve their health. The Salesian organization distributed meals to 720 beneficiaries. Salesians had hoped to reach 800 beneficiaries but due to challenges such as school closure during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, trouble with transportation bringing food into the villages, and youth who had relocated, they fell short of their goal.
Poverty in the area has impacted many families who depend on Rise Against Hunger meals for survival. The unemployment rate is high and has become worse during the pandemic. People have lost their jobs while food prices have increased drastically.
Recipients of the rice-meals had a significant impact on their health. Mzwandile Sihlongonyane, an 18-year-old young man from Ticancweni township on the outskirts of Manzini, is one of those who received the donation.
Sihlongonyane said, “My goal is to become a teacher one day so that I can work with young people and nurture them to become better people and also develop themselves. Before I received Rise Against Hunger meals, I used to eat pap (porridge), spinach and okra. We usually ate once or twice with my family. Since I began receiving the meals, I am feeling lively because I believe the nutrients from the meals are contributing to that. It is important for me to receive Rise Against Hunger meals because they are a balanced diet and sometimes the only meal I have in a day.”
Cyprian Shabangu, a social worker at Manzini Youth Care, provides holistic care and support to communities around Manzini. He said the distribution of Rise Against Hunger meals helps the organization because while distributing the meals, he is able to communicate directly with the different stakeholders and beneficiaries themselves.
Shabangu said, “Ever since Manzini Youth Care started distributing Rise Against Hunger meals, we haven’t heard of any hunger-related illnesses from children in this community.” He also noted that his favorite part of serving meals in this community is that when he delivers the food, he sees the lovely smiles of the beneficiaries and they show that they appreciate the support.
Manzini Youth Care was established in the 1970s and provides services to marginalized youth including free primary school for children who have dropped out of school due to poverty, two vocational training centers for older youth, residential care for former street children and a drop-in school for street children when they first come in off the streets. Manzini Youth Care also serves the communities surrounding Manzini to help residents improve their living standards, sanitation and food security.
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