Eritrea – “Food for Work”: many trees for Women's Day

08 March 2021

(ANS - Decamerè) - In a context of great poverty, with few educational opportunities and enormous water supply difficulties, Eritrean women can be the key to restoring some of the country's confidence and hope for the future. The Salesians believe in them. This is why they have launched a special reforestation project that relies on the presence and commitment of women. This is the project: “Food for work”, to be carried out in Decameré, a town south of Asmara.

In Eritrea, the majority of the population lives on an income below the poverty line of $ 1.25 a day. Furthermore, the financially disastrous conditions of families in the last year have been further aggravated by the lockdown imposed by the government to stem the Covid-19 pandemic. There are no governmental or non-governmental organizations that provide assistance to the poor and there are no safety nets that offer financial protection to families strained by the pandemic and its consequences.

The lockdown, which has been in place for months, has totally interrupted the daily activities of the population, who mostly survive on a day-to-day basis. These are daily laborers or street vendors who can no longer count on the minimum income that allowed them to buy some food for themselves and their families. Men and, in many cases, women, who no longer know how to feed their children.

In a similar situation, the Sons of Don Bosco present at Decamerè came up with an initiative that would support 20 vulnerable families through the hiring of 20 female heads of families in conditions of total poverty for a reforestation activity lasting one year.

The women, selected with the support of the local authorities, after a short training course will work to plant new trees on the Salesian's land and in the immediate surroundings upon payment of a salary. The project will not only allow mothers to provide for the needs of their families on a regular basis, but will create benefits for the whole community which will be able to enjoy a 35% increase in wooded area in the Salesian compound and in the areas surrounding it.

The first presence of the Salesians in Eritrea dates back to 25 years ago, when, in 1996, Fr Angelo Regazzo and other missionaries arrived from Ethiopia right in Decamerè and opened a technical school with an adjoining boarding school. Subsequently, at the invitation of the bishop, the Sons of Don Bosco opened another vocational training center in Barentu, a city near the border with Sudan and Ethiopia. The third work in the country is located in Asmara, the capital, where the formation house for young people who want to become Salesians is located.

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ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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