Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: June 02, 2021

GLOBAL: Funding supports most vulnerable during pandemic with food and prevention measures

Salesian Missions funds COVID-19-related projects to provide nutritional support and prevention measures in countries around the globe.

NEW ROCHELLE, NY (June 2, 2021) When the global COVID-19 pandemic struck and countries began lockdowns, Salesian missionaries around the globe went into action ensuring that those who were impacted in their local communities had the food and hygiene supplies they needed. Missionaries also quickly began to shift how they worked with poor children and their families, including working to provide education online when possible. To aid these efforts, significant funding was needed.

Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, located in New Rochelle, New York, launched a special fundraising appeal to help Salesian programs. Salesian Missions funded 13 projects in the first six months of the pandemic, totaling more than $1,450,000 in support. These projects helped nearly 8,000 families in 11 countries. Additional projects, such as one funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for initiatives in Italy, happened later in the year.

“Most of these projects were stop-gap measures designed to ease the suffering of the most vulnerable members of communities,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “The majority of the funding went to help children, followed by those who were sick. Salesians work in the communities they serve and are well-positioned to not only know the local needs but to also understand what is needed most. As a result, our primary initiatives were food and hygiene supplies to ensure that families had enough to eat and were taking prevention measures to help mitigate the COVID-19 virus.”

Salesian Missions is proud to highlight some of the COVID-19 initiatives that were funded in 2020.


Salesian Missions funded the “Burundi Oratory Youths Food Aid to Slow Down COVID-19 Outbreak Effect” project. In addition to installing hand-washing stations at the entrances of classrooms, chapels, and dining rooms, volunteers also produced and installed informational posters and held training on proper hand-washing. More than 1,500 beneficiaries also received direct food assistance. The project indirectly benefited 67,000 people through increased sanitization measures at three youth centers and awareness campaigns.


Salesian Missions provided funding for the “Emergency Assistance for Students in Emergency Situations Due to Coronavirus Pandemic” project, which benefited 1,000 students and 100 staff through the sanitization of Don Bosco College and the Vocational Training Center. These spaces are also utilized by the parish of Mary Help of Christians in Mimboman, which has 4,000 parishioners. It also directly benefited 420 families and 50 students through school scholarships.


Salesian Missions funded a joint collaborative project with Salesians in South Africa, Eswatini and Lesotho. In Eswatini, the project benefited more than 100 families from the Manzini Youth Care, which included a home for children who had been living on the street. These children and families received essential food aid to help ensure proper nutrition.


Salesian Missions funded four projects in India focusing on food aid and sanitization efforts.

In Chennai, the “Restore and Rehabilitate People Affected Due to Corona Pandemic through Required Immediate Basic Relief Measures” project distributed food and necessary sanitization materials to 157 vulnerable families and direct cash vouchers to 100 families.

In Shillong and Assam, the “Solidarity Viral COVID-19 Relief” project provided food and hygienic materials to 780 vulnerable families, directly benefiting 4,497 people. Also in Shillong, the “COVID-19 Response: Food and Nutrition for Children” project benefited the community through a COVID-19 health awareness program which included 1,000 participants, as well as a kitchen garden project, which benefited 50 people. The project also offered scholarships to 30 vulnerable youth to keep them in school despite the economic crisis and distributed 500 provision kits with rice, dal and oil to the most vulnerable families.

In Goa, the “COVID-19 Pandemic: Emergency Relief Response” project provided food and hygienic supplies to 3,700 vulnerable families.


With support from the U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Salesian Missions launched the “Salesian Solidarity with Italy: the Emergency Response to COVID-19″ project. The project will impact more than 24,000 people including students and other young people, teachers, families, and migrants and refugees. Salesian Missions is working with Salesian International Volunteering for Development (VIS) and local Salesian partners CNOS-FAP, the National Salesian Center for Vocational Training and Ongoing Education, and SCS-CNOS Federation, Salesians for Social Welfare.


Salesian Missions provided funding for the “Rescuing Kakuma Young Refugees from the COVID-19 Menace” project that provided food and personal protective equipment for refugees, as well as sanitization for the Kakuma Refugee camp in Kenya. More than 2,000 households were directly or indirectly impacted by the project, including students, parishioners and residents of 10 outstations. More than 72 percent of the funding was used to provide food assistance to the most vulnerable young refugee families.


A joint collaborative project that Salesian Missions funded with Salesians in South Africa, Eswatini and Lesotho benefited 200 families at St. Luke’s Mission, which includes the parish community, St. Luke’s and St. Boniface’s schools, the Mazzarello Skills Centre, and the Ferrando Resource Center for Differently Abled Children.


Salesian Missions funded the “Health Assistance for Our Most Poor and Needy Patients of First Phase of COVID-19 in Peru” project. The funds were originally intended to provide food and hygienic materials to 2,000 vulnerable families in six communities. By the start of the project, however, it was clear there was a greater need in the community due to the breakdown of hospital services. With approval, the project instead supplied 720 patients with lifesaving medication and purchased 20 pulse oximeters to support the treatment of COVID-19 patients.


The joint collaborative project that Salesian Missions funded with Salesians in South Africa, Eswatini and Lesotho benefited 650 families in South Africa in two communities associated with the Salesian schools. The project supported students and their families in Ennerdale/Johannesburg and Cape Town and the Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church Parish community in Cape Town.


Salesian Missions funded the “Emergency Intervention at IDP Camp – Gumbo during COVID-19 Pandemic” project in South Sudan that provided food support for 275 families, primarily benefiting the elderly, women and people with disabilities.

Additionally, the project funded sanitization measures in the camp, benefiting more than 10,000 people, primarily women and children.


Salesian Missions funded the “Countering COVID-19 by Don Bosco Murunkan” in Sri Lanka. The project directly benefited 60 boys, ages 11-18, and five staff members. In addition to paying salaries for staff to keep the program running, students were provided food and sanitization materials for three months. Many of the students are orphans or only have one parent, usually their mother, and are unable to pay their expenses at Don Bosco Murunkan. The funding ensures they are able to continue to receive their education in a safe and supportive environment while being fed nutritious meals to address the undernourishment many have suffered.


Salesian Missions funded the “Sanitization and Assistance of Vulnerable People from COVID-19” in Togo that benefited approximately 500 youth, vulnerable adults and the elderly. The project successfully distributed food and masks to the most vulnerable members of Maria Auxiliadora Parish and established sanitization measures in the community.


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