(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries working in the Makululu settlement in Kabwe, Zambia, were able to purchase close to 25 acres of land and develop a farm thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco.
Missionaries have developed the farm near the Don Bosco Children Home so that the food developed on the farm will be a source of food for the children and the local community. The farm itself will also be utilized as an agricultural training center. 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.
In Makululu more than 40 percent of children between 7-14 years old 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 to 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 having no electricity, enough food to eat or enough money to buy proper clothing.
Today, Salesian missionaries operate the Don Bosco Children Home, a nursery school that prepares young children for primary school, a youth center that accommodates up to 60 youth, and now agriculture training so youth can earn a living.
“Access to quality education provides a stepping stone out of poverty for poor youth,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions. “We are grateful to our donors who provided funding so that the land could be purchased for the farm. This will enable Salesian missionaries to both have a food source for the community and use the farm for invaluable educational lessons.”
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.