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(ANS – Manzini) – Thanks to collaboration between the Agency for International Development of the USA (USAID), the Mission Procure of New Rochelle and the Salesians of Swaziland, thousands of poor children, affected by HIV/AIDS or simply in need can receive a hot meal in schools and in aid centres.
This operation is possible because of a donation of over 75 tons of food from “USAID” as part of its “Food for Peace” programme. In this context the Salesian Missions and the “Manzini Youth Care” organization of the local Salesians, because of their trustworthiness, were selected by the Agency as partners in the distribution of the food.
This March 27th, at the Manzini Youth Care Centre of Matsapha, an event took place attended by the Minister of Education and Training, the Hon. Wilson Ntshangase; his First Secretary Patrick Muir; the Director of Agricultural Policies, George Ndlangamandla, representing the Minister of Agriculture, the National Director of USAID , Natalie Kruse-Levy; the Chargé d’Affaires of the American Embassy, Craig Cloud, representing the Ambassidor, Earl Irving; and Fr. John Thompson from the Salesian Community of Manzini.
Dr. Cloud explained how, thanks to this initiative, more than 20,000 children in 45 schools of the four regions of the country would receive a hot meal from March to December 2012. He also presented this collaboration as an example of a union of forces to produce greater results.
Conveying the message of the Ambassador, Dr. Cloud recalled the difficulties facing so many Swazi children, whether for their schooling or in the case of families affected by problems such as HIV/AIDS, unemployment of poverty. “In response to this situation, the Salesian Mission and Manzini Youth Care are working with some of the most disadvantaged groups, including children, the elderly and disabled. Their work is an inspiration to us all. Their residential homes for former street children and OVC demonstrate their commitment to bettering the lives of the poorest of the poor”, was written in the message.
Also the Hon. Ntshangase stressed the difficult food situation of many minors, quoting that in the whole country those schools which provide at least one meal a day for the students get the greatest number of applications.
Dr.. Ndlangamandla, after thanking USAID for the donation, was pleased by the choice of the Salesians as partners in the distribution: “However, even if the food may be available, there is always the challenge of accessibility by all. That is how organisations like Manzini Youth Care come in to help vulnerable to have access to the food”.
On his part Fr. Thompson said that the food would not only benefit the schoolchildren, but also some needy old people and some aid organizations.