GLOBAL DAY OF PARENTS: Salesian Missions highlights programs that support parents and children
Global Day of Parents is celebrated each year on June 1.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (June 1, 2022) Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins humanitarian organizations and the international community in celebrating Global Day of Parents, which was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012. The day, celebrated each year on June 1, honors parents throughout the world and provides an opportunity to appreciate all parents for their commitment to children.
In their work in more than 130 countries around the globe, Salesian missionaries provide support to the parents of the children in their programs. Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, said, “There are many ways Salesian programs support parents. Whether it’s education that we are providing so young single mothers can learn a skill for employment or providing feeding programs to ensure children have at least one meal a day at school or even providing health clinics, Salesians are not only taking care of youth but the whole family.”
In honor of Global Day of Parents, Salesian Missions is proud to share programs around the globe that provide support for parents and their children.
Salesian missionaries have been working in Ukraine providing education and social development services in cities across the country including Kyiv, Zhytomyr, and Lviv. On the eastern front in Dnipro, Salesian Father Oleh Ladnyuk has been military chaplain to Ukrainian troops since 2014, when the Donbas conflict broke out. He also normally travels between villages in the area to offer Salesian youth ministry courses in Greek Catholic parishes. The invasion has changed Fr. Ladnyuk’s work. He is now working on evacuations and providing safety and support to children and families.
In the hours immediately following the invasion, Fr. Ladnyuk saw people stunned in the streets, lines of cars in search of fuel and people at ATMs to withdraw as much cash as possible. He heard of the first bombings and saw the first deaths. Then he left once again for Lysychansk, accompanied by Father Igor Opafsky. Everything had already been organized.
Fr. Ladnyuk has rescued 12 people including women and Tymofij, just two weeks old. “These are not whole families, but pieces of families that split up. Fathers and mothers ensure their children are safe, then decide to stay behind — at home, under the bombs.”
After the trip, Fr. Ladnyuk returned to Dnipro. There are many people in need there that Salesians can still help. Salesians in Ukraine will continue to provide support to children and families while Salesians around the globe work to provide humanitarian relief to those in need.
Don Bosco Lahore distributed humanitarian aid to 200 Afghan refugee families in the community of Peshawar, Pakistan, thanks in part to donor funding provided by Salesian Missions. The Salesian community offered shelter and basic necessities to 1,500 people, who are mostly children.
Mr. Vincent, who coordinated the distribution, said, “The Christian community of Peshawar has rallied around the value of solidarity. We felt proud that we could selflessly help people of other religions in a spirit of universal brotherhood.”
Salesian centers in Quetta and Lahore offer quality education and an innovative teaching style. More than 1,000 students from disadvantaged families attend Salesian schools. Salesians first started providing education in Pakistan in 1998, and today, their centers are considered some of the best education in the country.
Salesian missionaries have been working in Gumbo, South Sudan, helping thousands of people over the last several years. Salesians operate a parish, an elementary school for 1,800 students, a high school with 450 students, a technical school, an oratory and a camp for those who have been internally displaced that is home to 9,500 people. Salesians also work in collaboration with the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, who run another elementary school, and the Sisters of Charity of Jesus, who provide a health dispensary.
Most recently, the Salesian Missionary Foundation, based in Warsaw, Poland, built a school in Gumbo for poor children in the area. Father Piotr Gozdalski, president of the foundation, said, “In the elementary school, we have 140 students per class. The school was in dire need of new spaces. The four classrooms built are helping to divide the groups and have fewer students per class, which benefits the safety of everyone and the quality of education offered.”
Last year, the Salesian Missionary Foundation also paid for meals for 700 elementary school students and provided food for 700 of the neediest families in the camp. The foundation also supplied the dispensary with medicines and products for hygiene and personal care. Educational sessions were held to encourage the adoption of healthy habits.
The Salesian Circumscription of Central Italy and the banking institution Intesa Sanpaolo have signed an agreement in support of families with school-age children who attend Salesian schools and vocational training centers in Abruzzo, Lazio, Liguria, Marche, Sardinia, Tuscany, and Umbria.
As part of an initiative of the environmental social governance sector of Intesa Sanpaolo, impact loans will provide families with a line of credit of 2,000 or 3,000 euros per year for a period ranging from one to five years.
The goal is to help families with financial sustainability while their children are in school. The loans will provide families with money to purchase products and services related to education (school fees, books, etc.), coverage of special educational needs (psychomotor skills, speech therapy), and other activities fostering personal growth (sports, summer camps, training experiences abroad).
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