Hand sanitizer and blankets also provided to children and families
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Rundu, Namibia, were able to feed vulnerable children who are part of the Don Bosco pre-school and parents thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. They also provided hand sanitizer for the prevention of COVID-19 and bought blankets. The project benefited 123 children ages 3-11 who are from poor families, orphans and from families headed by children.
"The funding provided from Salesian Missions enabled us to feed vulnerable children who are part of the Don Bosco Center's pre-school. This is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic when children are more at risk of malnutrition," said Father Louis Malawa, project manager at the Don Bosco Center. "We supported some families that are struggling during this time, and the food and other supplies were greatly appreciated."
Rundu is the second largest city in Namibia and is 435 miles 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 children who are now going through difficulties due to the hunger that has stricken the country.
Veronica, one of the recipients of the donation, said, "I am an orphan and have benefited so much from the help. Before the food that was provided, I was looking for food in bins and having to beg. Now I have food and clothes and feel very happy."
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.
Photo courtesy of Salesian Missions (contact for usage permissions)
World Bank -- Namibia