ZAMBIA: At-risk youth and their families impacted by Feed My Starving Children ricemeal donation
The food support has improved the lives and health of youth, enabling them to focus on their daily activities.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Aug. 12, 2020) Mary Help of Christians in Kasama, Zambia, was able to provide meals to youth in need thanks to a partnership between Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, and Feed My Starving Children, a nonprofit Christian organization committed to “feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit.” The rice-meal donation was provided and distributed to the Sisters of the Child Jesus who are working in health centers and have communities with orphans, blind children and people who are albino. The donation was also shared with youth and children who come to the Mary Help of Christians oratory and parish.
The food arrived in May and become a lifeline in the face of the pandemic. Sister Godelieve, who works in Kasama, said, “The rice is the manna that we have waited for to help people. It’s normal for us to see poor children in need of nutrition but with the pandemic, many people are struggling.”
Sr. Godelieve added, “As a community we have many people coming to our door to beg for food. The rice is a solution for us. It allows us to help the poor who knock at our door. We give rice to our workers. It helps them to nourish their children. During the pandemic, most of people have found themselves without work. Therefore, when they receive rice, they can at least have a meal in a day.”
Mary Help of Christians also provided meals to the school in Mornese. Sr. Godelieve noted, “In the village, we also give food to our pupils as they are from the poorest families. Sometimes we cook it and they eat at school and sometimes we give them packs so they can carry home to share with their family.”
Geoffrey Mulenga, one of Mary Help of Christians workers said, “The rice I receive for my family I keep it for my youngest child. It helps him to have good health and be strong.”
Beauty Mwansa, who is 22 years old and is being supported by Mary Help of Christians Laura Center in Kasama, said, “My parents are deceased and I live with my grandmother with my sisters and brothers. I finished my secondary schools and have advanced on to additional schooling. We do daily wage work to survive, but in the face of the pandemic that is no longer possible and we have been very hungry. The Salesian Sisters have been supporting me through school and have provided meals for my family. It has helped all of us to survive this pandemic.”
Poverty is widespread in Zambia with 64 percent of the total population living below the poverty line. For those living in rural areas, the poverty rate rises to 80 percent, according to UNICEF. Over the past three decades, incomes in Zambia have fallen steadily and people do not have enough money to meet basic needs such as shelter, nutritious food and medical care.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic has also taken a devastating toll on Zambia’s children. There are 1.2 million children classified as orphaned and vulnerable by UNICEF, and these children struggle to find education, basic services and hope for their future.
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