Ethiopia – "Don Bosco Center" of Mekanissa: home for the most needy children

11 December 2019

(ANS - Addis Ababa) - Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, is a city in great turmoil with plenty of of construction sites, buildings, commercial activities ... But there is also another Addis Ababa, of the outskirts, where the poorer population lives. In Mekanissa, one of these districts is the "Don Bosco Center."

It is here that Bro. Donato Galetta, a Salesian coadjutor and missionary, has been welcoming the smallest and the poorest for 30 years. They are street children who are from 2 to 15 years old and who live in a state of extreme poverty. The Salesians welcome about 400 of them, offering them food, health and education.

Above all, food: all the 400 children who are beneficiaries of the Center enjoy daily lunch and about forty of them, mainly orphans, also have dinner. Food security means cooking food with care, but here in Mekanissa it means first and foremost offering food to those who have none and cannot afford it, fighting malnutrition and undernourishment.

To guarantee everyone a meal, for the past two years the Salesians have had to renounce the purchase of meat, which in Ethiopia has prohibitive costs. This allows missionaries to buy the food they require for their annual needs while keeping costs down.

Health, too, is a concern: at the "Don Bosco Center", there is a small medical dispensary, managed by a nurse, thanks to which the Salesians are able to guarantee first aid, routine health check ups and the constant supply of all the necessary medicines.

In the field of health security, missionaries have several other activities at heart, such as giving the opportunity to take a hot shower and provide girls with sanitary napkins on a monthly basis, in order to avoid illness and infections: what is taken for granted elsewhere is a luxury in Mekanissa.

And finally, but certainly not least important, there is education: all children and young people receive a school uniform and the school material they need: textbooks, notebooks, pens and pencils. For older children who attend vocational training courses, the Salesians also bear the costs of transport to school. The missionaries also pay the school fees of all the center's children and young people.

Their education is considered, like food and health, one of the pillars on which the Project is founded to ensure these children, who come from situations of extreme poverty, a different future.

There are many street children and youngsters in Ethiopia. The Salesians cannot follow them all, but thanks to the solidarity of many benefactors they do their utmost for all those who manage to reach them, trying to make them grow healthy, robust and above all loved.

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