Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: August 11, 2021

RWANDA: Donor funding from Salesian Missions provides nutritional support to youth

Youth attending programs at Don Bosco Gatenga Center receive nutritious food and an education.

NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Aug. 11, 2021) Don Bosco Gatenga Center, located in Kigali, Rwanda, has received donor funding from Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, to help provide nutritional support for students and youth at the center. To date, Don Bosco Gatenga has provided nutritional support for 210 students with the goal to reach 520 students.

Don Bosco Gatenga has a public chapel, oratory, technical and vocational school, boarding for boys, and a farm. While the center has a number of resources that it uses to provide for the needs of its students and those in other programs, nutritional support falls short. In addition to students at the technical school, the public chapel welcomes more than 2,000 Christians every Sunday and the oratory has more than 2,000 youth.

Since its beginning in 1976, Don Bosco Gatenga has welcomed youth and children in need and provided shelter, food and education. The school helps to prepare youth for the future and teaches them employable skills so that they will be self-sufficient and help support their families and the community.

Don Bosco Gatenga also features a large farm that has 26 hectares of land. Ten of those hectares have already been cultivated for farming. The food grown helps to feed the students in the school and the boys who board there. Don Bosco Gatenga has seen more and more children who are undernourished and malnourished coming to the center, and the farm crop is not enough to feed them all adequately. The number of students from poor families who want to attend the school to learn employable skills has also increased.

With the donor funding provided, four hectares of land have been farmed and the vegetables grown there are being provided to the youth at the center. Additional funding for nutritional support is feeding the 210 students at least one meal a day.

“We are appreciative of the donor funding that has provided initial support for Don Bosco Gatenga and the children at the center,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “Funding is needed to buy additional food items to supplement and provide nutritional daily meals to everyone. There is a great need at this center and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made it more challenging.”

After bravely overcoming the trauma of the 1994 genocide, Rwandans looking to transform their country have made remarkable progress. Still, much remains to be done. Close to 39 percent of Rwandans live in poverty, according to the World Bank. Rwanda is a rural, agrarian country with about 35 percent of the population engaged in subsistence agriculture with some mineral and

agro-processing. Many of the country’s orphaned children are the tragic result of a violent civil war. Half of all children drop out of primary school and 2.2 million people—22 percent of the population—face critical food shortages.

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