TOGO: Close to 500 people in Lomé have access to coronavirus prevention materials and food kits thanks to funding from Salesian Missions
The funding enabled the Salesian Maria Auxiliadora Parish to purchase essential supplies for the prevention of COVID-19.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Oct. 22, 2020) Close to 500 people supported by the Maria Auxiliadora Parish in Gbényedzi, Lomé, Togo, have access to coronavirus prevention materials thanks to funding from Salesian Missions donors. The funding enables Salesians at the parish to purchase and distribute face masks, install hand-washing devices and purchase thermo-flash devices for taking temperatures. Salesians were also able to purchase, store and distribute food for those in need.
Many people, both older and young, were supported by the donor funding. One of the recipients was Lady Donyon, a widowed woman in her sixties. She lives in the district of Ablogamé in the home she had shared with her husband. To survive, she had been selling charcoal, but her late husband’s sons did not give her time to develop her business. Her only child who is with her has mental health struggles, which complicates the situation.
Donyon and her grandsons collect pure water sachets to sell. When the grandchildren come back from school, they go to the market to help shopkeepers. Donyon reported that the food kits provided are helping her because the coronavirus pandemic has slowed down everything and it’s difficult to earn enough money to feed herself and her grandchildren.
Donyon said, “This kit will allow me to feed myself and my little two grandsons and my child. This will also allow us not to go out all the time looking for sachets for the next few days. I sincerely thank the donors and all those who have thought of us.”
Salesian missionaries have been responding to the needs of poor youth and their families since the coronavirus pandemic started earlier this year. In Salesian communities, parishes, schools and institutions, missionaries are providing face masks, ensuring access to soap and clean water, providing food and hygiene kits, and changing how they provide educational lessons. Salesian missionaries are also focused on how people are dealing emotionally with the effects of quarantines and lockdowns. In many areas, they are finding ways to help support their community members with online activities, call-in support lines and psycho-social support.
More than 80 percent of Togo’s rural population lives in conditions of poverty making the country one of the world’s poorest, according to UNICEF. Children in the country suffer the most with close to 50 percent of those living in poverty under the age of 18. One in eight children will not reach their fifth birthday and the number of children who drop out of school because their parents cannot afford to educate them is high. Children are also often forced to work in exploitative and dangerous conditions in order to help support their families.
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