Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: September 03, 2020

GLOBAL: Salesian Missions funds COVID-19-related projects to ensure Salesian organizations can provide nutritional support and prevention measures in countries around the globe

Salesian Missions has supported nutritional and prevention projects in Burundi, East Timor, India, Namibia, Malawi, South Africa, South Sudan and Zambia  

NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Sept 3, 2020) The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has impacted countries around the globe and left people—particularly migrant workers—stranded, impacted livelihoods and pushed people further into poverty. Homeless children who beg on the streets to earn money for a small amount of food to eat are even more at risk. Some countries have limited access to medical care so prevention is even more critical. 

Salesian organizations have been responding with food, hygiene supplies, medical care and awareness about the virus and prevention strategies. Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, has answered the call to ensure this critical aid reaches those most in need. 

“Salesian missionaries live in the communities in which they work so they are well-positioned to understand the local needs and come up with solutions to address them,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “We have funded projects in seven countries to date that address nutritional support, sanitation and hygiene, and educational materials for prevention. These activities help respond to the local need and help families who have been pushed even further into poverty.” 

While Salesian missionaries are responding to new needs brought about by the pandemic, they are still working to meet their core mission of providing programs and services children and families need to break the cycle of poverty for good. Missionaries are still feeding malnourished families, rescuing homeless children from the streets, educating impoverished children and teaching youth the skills they need to have hope for a brighter future. 

Salesian Missions has set up a donation page for those who wish to provide support to projects like these: https://salesianmissions.org/lp/content-faith/. 

Salesian Missions is pleased to share some of the funded projects helping to mitigate the challenges the pandemic has brought to youth and families in poverty. 

BURUNDI 

Through Salesian Missions funding, the Salesian Rukago Parish in Burundi has been able to provide community prevention measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. This project, which benefited 65,000 people in the parish and local community, provided hand-washing stations in eight churches, 15 schools and the Don Bosco Oratory. 

“Installing hand-washing stations in front of churches, offices, schools and playgrounds is an effective means of fighting the coronavirus pandemic while giving the local population the hope of living,” said Father Raphaël Katanga, economer of the Salesian Community in Rukago. “With the funding, we have also supported some vulnerable families from a local indigenous group, who were at risk of facing food shortage due to the limited circulation of goods and people. 

EAST TIMOR 

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. 

INDIA 

Bosconet, located in New Delhi, India, provided food rations to those impacted by the coronavirus lockdowns in communities in Shillong and Assam. Through the support of a Salesian Missions donor, Bosconet was able to reach 780 families from May 16-30. Temporary laborers in tea gardens and daily wage laborers were provided dry ration kits to ensure they had food to eat. 

In addition, the Anma Integrated Development Association (AIDA) was able to support 13 farmers with tea saplings thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions. The goal of the project is to help tea laborers begin to cultivate their land, allowing them to become owners of their own small tea gardens and develop a long-term sustainable income. 

NAMIBIA 

Salesian missionaries with the Don Bosco Youth Center, located in Rundu, Namibia, were able to continue with a feeding program for children facing hunger thanks to funding from Salesian Missions donors. Missionaries provided feeding support for youth who have dropped out of school and other vulnerable children. This ongoing nutritional support was particularly important during the pandemic. The children were able to stay indoors during this tough time because of the food supply that was available for them, 

The Don Bosco Youth Center provides shelter and services for homeless youth. The center offers computer classes for 65 students, pre-school for 70 children and school for 104 students who have dropped out of formal education. In addition, more than 80 youth attend the daily oratory activities including sports programming. 

MALAWI 

Struggling families in Malawi being pushed further into poverty by the pandemic are receiving nutritional support. Father Mulenga Oswald, St. Don Bosco Parish priest, said, “We sincerely thank Salesian Missions donors for their support, which enabled us to reach out to needy families of our parish. Salesian Missions prompt response helped us to mobilize and assist the people that needed help most.” 

St. Don Bosco Parish in Lilongwe received funding from Salesian Missions donors to buy maize to help 382 families. At the Don Bosco Church, 280 families from 28 small Christian communities benefited along with families connected to Salesian centers in Mbunu, Kundi, Kangonoma, Chipeni and more. 

SOUTH AFRICA 

Salesian missionaries, with the Salesian Planning and Development Office in Johannesburg, South Africa, were able to provide food support to Salesian sites in Eswatini (Swaziland), Lesotho and South Africa thanks to funding from Salesian Missions. The project is part of COVID-19 relief efforts in these countries. 

All Salesian sites that have received the donation have distributed the first food packages to youth and families in need and are now preparing for the second distribution in the coming weeks. The feedback Salesians are receiving from people receiving the donation is very positive. 

SOUTH SUDAN  

With funding from Salesian Missions, missionaries at the Don Bosco Gumbo camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in South Sudan were able to provide food aid rations for 275 internally displaced families. Each person received 10 kg of ground flour, 1 kg of salt, 1 liter of cooking oil and 5 kg of beans per month. The camp is home to 9,742 people, the majority women and children with no husbands or fathers, the elderly, and orphans. 

Missionaries were also able to distribute plastic roofing sheets, blankets, floor mats, soap and sanitary plastic jugs to 275 of the most vulnerable households. 

ZAMBIA 

A recent food shipment for at-risk youth and their families is a lifeline in the face of the pandemic, as more people are hungry and struggling in Zambia. 

Mary Help of Christians in Kasama was able to provide meals to youth in need thanks to a partnership between Salesian Missions and Feed My Starving Children. The food arrived in May and was shared with vulnerable children—including orphans and those who are blind—as well as other people in need. 

During the pandemic, people have found themselves without work and with nothing to eat. Beauty Mwansa, age 22, says her family has been very hungry. When they receive rice through the donation, they can at least have one meal in a day. 

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