SOUTH AFRICA: Salesian Missions provides funding for food aid
Salesian Missions provides funding for food aid impacting 6,592 people in Swaziland, Lesotho and South Africa.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Dec. 21, 2020) Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, provided funding for food relief to Salesian missionaries, with the Salesian Planning and Development Office in Johannesburg, South Africa. Salesian missionaries were able to provide food support to Salesian sites in Eswatini (Swaziland), Lesotho and South Africa as part of COVID-19 relief efforts in these countries.
In order to reach people who most desperately needed help, Salesian missionaries worked with Don Bosco Educational Projects in Johannesburg, Salesian Institute of Youth Projects and Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Cape Town, Manzini Youth Center in Eswatini, and St Luke’s Oratory in Lesotho. These local Salesian organizations identified the most vulnerable in their communities and distributed the food aid to them.
In total,1,030 households, impacting 6,592 people, received the aid over three months. Each household received one food package per month to assist in sustaining the family. The contents of food packages varied with each Salesian location and were determined by community needs.
In Cape Town, Linda has two adults and five children in her household. Prior to the national lockdown her husband worked part-time as a gardener. Even at that time, food was scarce. Linda often found herself going from soup kitchen to soup kitchen gathering enough food to feed her family. More often than she wishes to remember, her family survived on dry bread and black tea.
When she received the food aid, Linda said, “The food parcel made a big impact in our daily lives. I could offer my family a cooked meal and save my few cents to buy bread for them. Thank you for your kindness and remembering us, the poor.”
In Eswatini, Tengetile lives in a rural community and is currently in her 11th year in high school. She lives with her grandparents because her father passed away and her mother left to get married and start a new family. Her grandparents are unable to work and survive on a token government pension. Their main food for all meals is pap (a semolina-type porridge made from refined corn) and sometimes they’re able to find edible green leaves in the fields.
Tengetile said, “The food package is a great gift from God and it reminds me of God’s love and care. I am thankful for the food as it relieves stress from my grandparents and will also help me to improve in my studies at school.”
This food aid was not initially intended an ongoing project, but due to lockdown measures, Salesian missionaries were able to secure funding to continue the aid until early 2021, when it is
hoped that there will be less severe disruptions in the job market and people might be back to work.
Poverty is extensive in South Africa with more than half the population and more than 63 percent of children living below the poverty line, according to UNICEF. A significant percentage of the population struggles to survive on less than $1 a day. The country is plagued by high crime rates and violence against women and girls and has been the hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS crisis in the world. There is an urgent need for education to help prevent the spread of the deadly virus and to help lift youth out of poverty.
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