South Sudan: Salesian missionaries provide education and social programs to more than 4,000 children
(MissionNewswire) More than 4,000 children are receiving an education in Salesian primary, secondary and vocational skills training schools in South Sudan. Due to recent famines, meals are also provided at schools, and for many, this is the only meal they eat for the day.
South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan in 2011 but has faced an ongoing civil war that started in December 2013 and has resulted in a dire humanitarian crisis.
Responding to the civil strife is nothing new to Salesian missionaries in South Sudan who are dedicated to the programs and services they are providing across the country.
A camp in Juba for those who have been internally displaced has been consistently growing since the outbreak of war and is currently home to more than 10,000 people, mostly women and children. Without this camp, people would be left destitute with nothing to eat, nowhere to go and no access to any form of education.
Salesian Brother Jim Comino, who works within the camp, noted, “We are committed to helping refugees and those internally displaced through reconciliation activities and spiritual paths to achieve peace among the different tribes. We try to give inspiration and hope for a more humane future, living the Christian spirit.”
To help ensure the camp has enough food, an agricultural project was launched in the camp. The project helps to address both the educational and nutritional shortages in the region. An irrigation system was installed to allow crops of onions, beans, watermelons and other vegetables to be harvested. In addition, skills training was provided to local people to help maintain these crops. The corn harvested in September 2018 was enough to feed 3,000 children with breakfast for 30 days.
Ten solar-powered security lights that come on at night to help deter any intrusions or criminal activity targeted at the already vulnerable people were installed in the camp. These lights increase the general security of the camp, allowing people to feel safer and to get a better night’s sleep.
In addition to humanitarian aid, Salesian missionaries provide education, social development services, nutrition programs, and health clinics for poor youth and their families. For some, the education offered at Salesian schools is the only opportunity to gain an education and the skills necessary for future employment.
South Sudan is expansive and largely rural with 83 percent of the population residing in rural areas. Poverty is endemic with at least 80 percent of the population defined as income-poor and living on the equivalent of less than $1 per day, according to the World Bank. More than one-third of the population lacks secure access to food.
Australian Salesian Mission Overseas Aid Fund Annual Report 2018
Photo courtesy of Australian Salesian Mission Overseas Aid Fund Annual Report 2018
Salesian Missions – South Sudan
World Bank – South Sudan
Any goods, services or funds provided by Salesian Missions to programs located in this country were administered in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.