RWANDA: Salesian Missions provides funding for Don Bosco Muhazi school feeding program
Salesian missionaries are able to purchase and store food so that they can prepare healthy and balanced meals for the students.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Aug. 29, 2019) Students attending the Don Bosco Muhazi Technical-Vocational School, located in the Gasabo district in the Kigali province of Rwanda, now have access to better nutrition thanks to funding provided by Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. With the funding, the Salesian school is providing meals to students each day. The program is slated to run from April 2019 to April 2020.
The funding is enabling Salesian missionaries at Don Bosco Muhazi to purchase and store food on a monthly basis so that they can prepare healthy and balanced meals for the students. The school now has rice, beans, and oil. Missionaries made purchases in Kigali where prices are lower. They have also bought cabbage, tomatoes, and onions. Other vegetables have come from the garden on the school grounds. The project is benefiting 263 students.
Salesian missionaries report that the majority of the population near the school has very low purchasing power and does not have access to a balanced basic diet. Most families are only able to have enough for one meal a day. As a result of malnutrition, many of the students attending Don Bosco Muhazi fall below normal growth ranges. The school is working to address food shortages so students have the proper nutrition needed to focus on their studies. This will also help to avoid student drop out.
“Despite Rwanda’s impressive economic growth, in particular in the region where Don Bosco Muhazi is located, household food insecurity and undernutrition remain a challenge due to low agricultural productivity,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions. “Salesian missionaries are providing the food program to ensure that youth are able to access healthy nutrition which feeds both body and mind, so students are able to attend school and focus on their studies.”
The Don Bosco Center was launched in 2008 to meet the local need for education and skills training. Most of the students attending have dropped out of regular school and are living in situation of vulnerability. Students often drop out because of poverty, where they or their parents can’t afford school fees. At the Don Bosco Center these students can access an education and learn the skills needed for employment. Since 2010, 585 youth have received a certificate of completion in the culinary arts, tailoring, and masonry.
Missionaries have been living and working in the Great Lakes region of Rwanda for more than 50 years providing education and social programs to give youth hope for a brighter future.
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. Rwandans are anxious to move their country forward, but need substantial help to do so.
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 and with some mineral and agro-processing.
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