ZAMBIA: Don Bosco Children’s Home receives new vehicle with donor funding
Salesians able to travel to meet with families and provide services.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Oct. 30, 2023) Don Bosco Children’s Home, located in Kabwe, Makululu, Zambia, has a new vehicle to provide services thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. More than 1,250 youth in primary and secondary school in the Makululu compound, which is the largest and poorest settlement in southern Africa, will benefit from this donation.
There are six Salesians working with the Don Bosco Children’s Home, which has upwards of 80 children in the home for street children. There is also a parish and 10 outstations.
With the new vehicle, Salesians are able to travel to meet with families and provide services. It will also support the development of a new farm that will grow food to help the community become self-sufficient. Due to the need, the Don Bosco Children’s Home is still expanding. A new center is nearly ready to take in additional homeless children for initial therapeutic support.
Father Michael Wzietek, rector of the Salesian community, said, “The vehicle is necessary for daily use and the frequent visits to the streets of Kabwe where we try to monitor youth and help them. We try to react quickly when some youth need to be taken off the street immediately. It is impossible to take all of them, but we try to be in frequent contact with them. Once they stay with us for some time, we try to reintegrate them with their extended family and it means often traveling a long distance to different parts of the country in order to make sure they are safely reintegrated with their families. It is a great joy once someone is taken off the street, gets off the drugs, starts their education and is finally reintegrated in the family. They are not only able to lead a good life, but also help the family.”
Bright Phiri, one of the beneficiaries, lived with his mother, who passed away in February 2023, and his grandmother, who is an alcoholic. He was abused by his uncle and fled to the street where he had to beg for food. When Salesians found him, he was eager to start school and have hope for a better life. Phiri stills needs time to overcome the trauma but he is well on his way with Salesian care.
Poverty is widespread in Zambia with 64% of the total population living below the poverty line. For those living in rural areas, the poverty rate rises to 80%, 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.
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