SOUTH SUDAN: Salesian Missions provides funding to support Don Bosco Gumbo with coronavirus prevention initiatives and food assistance
The funding supports coronavirus prevention efforts and nutrition assistance at a local camp for those internally displaced in the country.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (April 15, 2020) Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, provided funding to Don Bosco Gumbo, located in Juba, South Sudan, to support coronavirus prevention efforts and nutrition assistance at a local camp for those internally displaced in the country.
“To date, South Sudan has four confirmed cases of COVID-19. A special task force is working toward contact tracing, testing and isolating more people, but the country is not prepared enough to face a pandemic of this magnitude,” said Father Shyjan, economer. “In the whole country, there are only four ventilators available at the moment. If the virus spreads like other countries, it will be a serious concern.”
South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan in 2011 but has faced an ongoing civil war that started in December 2013 and has resulted in a dire humanitarian crisis even before the coronavirus pandemic. Responding to the civil strife is nothing new to Salesian missionaries in South Sudan, who are dedicated to the programs and services they are providing across the country.
A camp in Juba for those who have been internally displaced has been consistently growing since the outbreak of war and is currently home to more than 10,000 people, mostly women and children. Without this camp, people would be left destitute with nothing to eat, nowhere to go and no access to any form of education.
With the funding from Salesian Missions, Salesian missionaries with Don Bosco Gumbo are putting several measures in place for the prevention of the virus. They have installed hand-washing facilities at all entry points and are installing hand-washing facilities at the camp for those who have been internally displaced. Salesian missionaries are also providing health check-ups for the internally displaced people (IDP) at the Don Bosco Dispensary. The check-ups are not COVID-19 screening but are for general health. Salesian missionaries are also providing one meal each day for more than 3,000 children at the IDP camp.
At Don Bosco Gumbo, Salesian missionaries provide education, social development services, nutrition programs, and health clinics for poor youth and their families. For some, the education offered at Salesian schools is the only opportunity to gain an education and the skills necessary for future employment.
South Sudan is expansive and largely rural with 83 percent of the population residing in rural areas. Poverty is endemic with at least 80 percent of the population defined as income-poor and living on the equivalent of less than $1 per day, according to the World Bank. More than one-third of the population lacks secure access to food.
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