CAMBODIA: 650 technical skills students receive proper nutrition at 3 Don Bosco schools thanks to Rise Against Hunger rice-meal donation
The fortified rice-meals have helped to nourish poor youth so they can focus on their studies.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Feb. 18, 2020) Students attending technical training programs supported by the Don Bosco Foundation of Cambodia had access to proper nutrition in the fourth quarter of 2019 thanks to a partnership between Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, and Rise Against Hunger, an international relief organization that provides food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable.
The rice-meal donations were distributed to 650 students at Don Bosco Technical and Hotel School Sihanoukville, Don Bosco Technical School Phnom Penh, and Don Bosco Technical School Kep. Beneficiaries included vocational and technical students who are studying to gain the skills needed for long-term employment. The Salesian schools provide technical skills training for young people from poor families and also offer boarding opportunities for those who find it difficult to rent a room on their own.
The Don Bosco schools are providing technical education for poor youth in subjects including electrical, mechanical, welding, automotive, electronics, computer and information technology, printing, media communication, hospitality and tourism. After students graduate, they are qualified for jobs that offer a decent salary, allowing them to support themselves and their families and break the cycle of poverty.
“We are very grateful with the support from Rise Against Hunger in the last year,” said Father Albeiro Rodas, rector of Don Bosco Technical School Kep. “The food program has been very much appreciated because it helped in the reduction of expenses and offers nutrition to children and youth that come from very poor communities with a deep problem of malnutrition.”
One of the students who benefited from the rice-meal donation was Beana Seanghai, who is a second-year student in the secretarial science department at Don Bosco Technical School Kep. She is the third child of six siblings of parents who are farmers. Most of her siblings are working on the farm, but she has one brother who went to Thailand to work as a construction worker.
Before starting her education at Don Bosco Technical School Kep, Seanghai was helping her parents in the field and with housework in order to have extra income to support her studies and family. She is grateful to able to study at Don Bosco Technical School Kep to live her dream of becoming a secretary at a company and supporting her family.
At Don Bosco Technical School Kep, Seanghai is one of the active students who is always willing to assist her friends with their homework. She is able to talk with her friends and enjoy the Rise Against Hunger Rice meals. Sometimes, Seanghai assists with cooking and preparing the meals. The rice-meals play a very important role in her success because she has meals to eat every day so she can focus on her studies rather than working in the field in order to have food.
According to the World Bank, poverty continues to fall in Cambodia. In 2017, the poverty rate was close to 14 percent compared to 47.8 percent in 2007. About 90 percent of the poor live in the countryside. While Cambodia achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving poverty in 2009, the vast majority of families who escaped poverty were only able to do so by a small margin. Around 4.5 million people remain near-poor, vulnerable to falling back into poverty when exposed to economic and other external challenges.
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