United States – World Day of Poor: Salesian social programs bring hope for future

14 November 2022
Photo: Salesian Missions

(ANS – New Rochelle) – Nearly 15,000 Salesian priests, brothers, and novices are working in more than 130 countries around the globe bringing education, workforce development, and social programs to poor youth and their families. They work in some of the most challenging circumstances and are among the first to respond during humanitarian crises or natural disasters. On the occasion of World Day of the Poor, celebrated yesterday, Nov. 13, 2022, for the sixth time since it was established by Pope Francis, “Salesian Missions”, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, highlights unique educational and social programs that are helping poor and at-risk youth meet their basic needs, receive an education, and find a path out of poverty, bringing them hope for the future.

Salesian missionaries in San Pedro Carchá have been working on a housing reconstruction project since torrential rains and severe flooding decimated rural villages in Guatemala. The storm on Nov. 4, 2020, isolated entire rural communities and devastated crops and housing. Chiachal, approximately 40 miles (65 km) north of San Pedro Carchá and home to 105 Indigenous Q'eqchi families, was especially impacted.

In coordination with the Salesian Provincial House and with financial support from Salesians in Central America, donors, and other charitable organizations, Salesian missionaries set out to support this community. The first step was to purchase municipal land for the construction of new housing and the church. The work took the cooperation of the local Don Bosco Center and the Salesian-run Talita Kumi Center.

Thanks to emergency aid funding that was sent to Salesian missionaries in Warsaw, Poland, Ukrainian refugees taking shelter in Salesian houses have supplies they need for daily living. With the funding, Salesians bought duvet covers, sheets, towels, and other supplies like soap, paper towels, and personal hygiene items.

Salesian missionaries in Poland and bordering countries have been providing shelter and support to refugees since the start of the Russian invasion in March 2022. Currently, there are 170 refugees in Salesian houses in the Warsaw province with the capacity to provide for up to 370 refugees.

Because of the supplies, refugees have been able to live in comfort and take care of their living quarters by themselves, which has given them a sense of independence and self-sufficiency. Refugees have been able to focus on looking for a job, caring for their children, and learning the Polish language, among other activities to help them become acclimated to their new environments.

Salesian missionaries with St. Joseph Vocational Training Center in Khartoum, Sudan, are offering a solar energy project for the students taking the electricity course. The training is engaging students in hands-on exploration in the field of renewable energy. This project was made possible thanks to Bosco Global and financial support from Magone Foundation and the Provincial Council of Huesca, all in Spain.

During the 2021-2022 academic year, first- and second-year electricity students installed several solar panels in three different buildings on the school grounds. Students had the opportunity to learn the installation process, operation, and proper use of the solar panels.

A Salesian missionary explained the project’s importance, saying, “Power outages of 10 hours a day can occur in Sudan, so solar energy is a key alternative to this problem, as well as making a very positive contribution to the environment. Currently, renewable energy is booming in the country.”

Salesian missionaries at Don Bosco Children and Life Mission (Don Bosco CALM), located in the town of Namugongo just northeast of the city of Kampala, Uganda, received funding for five dairy cows thanks to a partnership between Salesian Missions and the DD Lynch Family Foundation, an organization that gives to Catholic causes to end human suffering.

With the funding, Salesians bought five dairy cows to provide milk for children in their programs. Four of the cows are now pregnant. An earlier donation by the DD Lynch Family Foundation provided the funding for a modern cowshed so the cows live in good conditions and are cared for by a veterinary doctor and a full-time shepherd.

The project will be sustainable because the cows will multiply, increasing milk productivity. This prevents malnutrition among the children who live in the orphanage and attend the primary school at Don Bosco CALM. Most of the children cared for by the Salesians were once living on the street and are HIV-positive or in some other vulnerable situation.

Source: Salesian Missions


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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