TIMOR-LESTE: Rise Against Hunger rice-meal shipment provides nutrition for 11 Salesian centers
The shipment ensured students and rural community members had healthy nutrition during the COVID-19 pandemic.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Dec. 13, 2021) Youth attending Salesian schools and youth centers in Timor-Leste had access to better nutrition 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. A 2020 shipment provided donated rice-meals to ensure students and rural community members had healthy nutrition during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Don Bosco Foundation, the main recipient of the donation, shared the rice-meals among 11 Salesian centers and programs. Don Bosco Technical School Fatumaca, Don Bosco Technical High School Maliana, Don Bosco Training Center of Comoro, Don Bosco Laga Youth Center, and Don Bosco Lospalos Orphanage were among the recipients of the donation. The donation also went to Salesian primary and secondary schools and a local prison.
One of the recipients, Don Bosco Technical School Fatumaca, provides vocational education that helps youth gain an education and prepare for the future. More than 250 students, 11 percent of whom are girls, attend the school taking three-year courses in carpentry, mechanics and electronics. Each year there are more than 400 applications for 84 student spots. Final year students are required to design and produce a product that embraces much of what they have learned over the previous three years.
“Hungry students have trouble focusing on their studies and learning,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “Salesians provide feeding programs in their schools and centers so youth are able to fully take part in the activities and school lessons. During the pandemic, when so many families faced an extra financial burden due to a lack of work, the food ensured that families had healthy nutrition to survive.”
Timor-Leste is home to 1.3 million people and has close to 49 percent of its population living in poverty with over one-third of the population regularly experiencing food shortages. In addition, close to 50 percent of the population is illiterate, according to the World Bank.
Salesian missionaries in Timor-Leste have been providing programs to help residents recover and rebuild in the wake of a devastating civil war in the country that claimed countless lives, decimated entire communities and resulted in living conditions that are among the worst in the world. Now that the violence has subsided, efforts are being focused on helping the poor, restoring hope and providing new opportunities for the future.
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