Vietnamese Salesian missionary assists 90 boys who live at the Don Bosco Children Home
(MissionNewswire) Father Joseph Nguyen Tuan Anh is one of 120 Vietnamese Salesian missionaries living in the Zambia--Malawi-Zimbabwe-Namibia (ZMB) Salesian Province. There he assists 90 boys who live at the Don Bosco Children Home. He is also in charge of the oratory.
The Don Bosco Children Home transforms the lives of street children by providing shelter, education and agricultural training to help break the cycle of poverty and provide opportunities for financial independence. The home provides a nursery school that prepares young children for primary school, a youth center that accommodates up to 60 youth and agriculture training so youth can earn a living.
In Makululu more than 40 percent of children between the ages of 7-14 do not attend school. The area once had no formal education. Many of the local families rely on basic trades to earn a meager living and feed their families. They set up stalls with vegetables, fish, fruit, stone slabs, furniture and products from China. There is great poverty in the community with many residents living without electricity, enough food or enough money to buy clothing.
"My great joy is to see how our boys are changing day by day, the joy of working for the poor and needy boys who have no place to go," said Fr. Nguyen Tuan Anh. "I am challenged to learn the local languages (especially Bemba) and provide professional skills needed for this specific youth work. I want to become more open to learning so that I become more and more useful for the needs of the boys."
In 2019, Salesian missionaries working in the Makululu settlement were able to purchase close to 25 acres of land and develop a farm thanks to donor funding. Missionaries have developed the farm near the Don Bosco Children Home so it will be a source of food for the children and the local community. The farm is also utilized as an agricultural training center.
Poverty is widespread in Zambia with 64 percent of the total population living below the poverty line. For those living in rural areas, the poverty rate rises to 80 percent, according to UNICEF. Over the past three decades, incomes in Zambia have fallen steadily and people do not have enough money to meet basic needs such as shelter, nutritious food and medical care.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic has also taken a devastating toll on Zambia's children. There are 1.2 million children classified as orphaned and vulnerable by UNICEF, and these children struggle to find education, basic services and hope for their future.