Uganda - Don Bosco Palabek pioneer in production of facial masks

22 July 2020

(ANS - Palabek) - On 8 July at the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center in Palabek, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) officially launched the "Facial masks for refugees and host community" project. The Honorable Hillary Onek, Cabinet Minister responsible for Refugees, said: "Don Bosco Palabek has been a pioneer in the production of face masks and was very innovative, not only in the Palabek settlement but throughout northern Uganda and across the nation."

The same thought was taken up by Charles Uma, the administrative director of the Lamwo district. Mr Uma said that "when the lockdown in Uganda was declared on March 18, 2020, I received a generous number of masks from Palabek for district use."

Despite very limited resources, in Palabek they started making masks and distributed them free of charge to refugees and to all community workers.

Ms Felicitas Nebril, UNHCR Regional Manager, also said that: "This activity is the best example of refugees involved in socio-economic activities. Palabek has contributed to the well-being of refugees and local communities. You have become, in fact, the (role) models also for the host community."

She also encouraged refugees to use the mask regularly, to maintain the settlement's "zero-Covid" status. To date, a group of 20 girls has produced at least 10,000 masks of different shapes and sizes and will continue to produce others and distribute them for free.

In his speech, Honorable Hillay Onek added: "The eyes of Don Bosco's missionaries were sharp in seeing the needs and challenges of the people; when the government had not provided funding for the masks for refugees, you missionaries started production. By doing it in our district and in this new Training Center, you have made us proud."

He thanked the Salesians for bringing this Vocational Training Center to this extreme corner of the country, a place that had been neglected for several decades. "You will raise well-prepared young people, both refugees and locals, and bring peace and harmony throughout the area," he continued.

During this period of isolation, the Salesians living and working in Palabek have been engaged in implementing numerous anti-COVID-19 measures. Finally, the Salesians of Palabek also wished to express their thanks to Don Bosco Jugendhilfe Weltweit, main partner, and to all the other local supporters, the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, CESVI, Trocaire, AVSI and LWF for the material and logistical support.

Fr Lazar Arasu SDB


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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