NAMIBIA: Don Bosco Youth Center receives nutritional support thanks to Salesian Missions donors
Funding for food support has improved the lives and health of youth especially now during the coronavirus pandemic.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (June 25, 2020) Salesian missionaries with the Don Bosco Youth Center, located in Rundu, Namibia, were able to continue with a feeding program for vulnerable children thanks to funding from Salesian Missions donors. Missionaries provided feeding support for youth who have dropped out of school and other vulnerable children. The second half of the feeding project coincided with the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.
“The funding provided from Salesian Missions enabled us to feed the children, especially with the outbreak of coronavirus. The children were able to stay indoors during this tough time because of the food supply that was available for them,” said Father Louis Malawa, project manager at the Don Bosco Center. “We even supported some families that were in dire need of food and at the verge of starvation. The food rations given to them was highly appreciated.”
Rundu is the second largest city in Namibia and it is 700 km away from the capital city of Windhoek. Rundu has two regions, Kavango West and Kavango East, and lies on the borders of Angola, Zambia and Botswana. It is a desert area and cultivation of food is very difficult, leaving the population of close to 110,000 people in abject poverty.
The Don Bosco Youth Center was opened in 2002, and provides shelter and services for homeless youth. The center offers computer classes for 65 students, pre-school for 70 children and school for 104 students who have dropped out of formal education. In addition, more than 80 youth attend the daily oratory activities including sports programming. The aim of the feeding project is to provide food for the children who are now going through difficulties due to the hunger that has stricken the country.
“As a center we want to provide these children with breakfast and lunch every day so that we can stop them from going back to the streets to beg and to expose themselves to the evils that take place in the streets,” added Fr. Malawa. “We also want to train people in food security in the sense that whatever they may produce through alternative farming, they can stock it for the future use instead of using it immediately. We appreciate of the donor funding, which is helping us to feed the children.”
According to the World Bank, Namibia is just one of nine countries in Africa considered as upper middle income, but poverty is still prevalent with extreme wealth imbalances. Namibia’s poverty is 26.9 percent with an unemployment rate of 29.6 percent. Poverty in Namibia is acute in the northern regions of Kavango, Oshikoto, Zambezi, Kunene and Ohangwena, where upwards of one-third of the population lives in poverty. HIV prevalence in the country is 16.9 percent.
Salesian programs across Namibia are primarily focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education in the country helps youth prepare for later technical, vocational or university study. Other programs help to support poor youth and their families by meeting the basic needs of shelter, proper nutrition and medical care.
The Don Bosco Center nutritional project, like many that are funded by Salesian Missions, needs ongoing support from donors. To contribute to projects likes this, Salesian Missions offers a “Fund a Project” section on its website with more details.
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