(MissionNewswire) Children accessing medical care at the Don Bosco Clinic in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, had access to better nutrition in the first quarter of 2019 thanks to a partnership between Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, and Rise Against Hunger, an international relief organization that provides food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable. The donation was also shared with youth in the local prison and those living within the local community.
The Don Bosco Clinic provides care for children who suffer from poor nutrition. Since the Don Bosco Clinic received the Rise Against Hunger rice-meals, children have become healthier much faster. Fulbert Kyungu, who is in charge of the restoration of the Don Bosco Clinic, says, “Many parents do not work and do not know how to give the right food to their children and Rise Against Hunger rice has saved the lives of many children.”
The rice-meals were also shared with families who live in poverty in the Tabacongo district and are not able to provide food for their children. Many children in this neighborhood do not go to school. Poverty is the primary challenge and causes other problems such as disease and poor nutrition. The rice-meals were able to provide families with proper nutrition for their children.
At the juvenile prison in Lubumbashi, children are provided a meal only once a day and not every day. Onésime Kibambe, director of the prison, has noted, “Since February we have started to bring Rise Against Hunger rice to the prison. We feed 75 young people twice a day on every Monday, Wednesday and Sunday. Since we started giving rice, these young people are happy. We have also distributed the soap that was donated through Rise Against Hunger. Children are using the soap for bathing and washing their clothes.”
Rise Against Hunger partners with Salesian Missions which works to identify needs and coordinate delivery of 40-foot shipping containers full of meals, supplemented with additional supplies when available. The partnership was developed in 2011 and since that time shipments have been successfully delivered to countries around the globe. The meals and life-saving aid have helped to nourish poor youth at Salesian schools and programs and care for those in need of emergency aid during times of war, natural disasters and health crises.
“The partnership with Rise Against Hunger allows Salesian Missions to expand its services for youth in need,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions. “Operating feeding programs and providing other life-changing supplies for youth is integral to the success of our students and their ability to gain an education.”
Despite its vast material wealth, the Democratic Republic of Congo has long been a very poor nation. Half of the country’s population lives below the poverty line living on less than $1 a day, especially those in rural communities. Because of ongoing strife and violence within the country, more than 8.5 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. More than 4.1 million Congolese are now displaced with 620,000 seeking refuge in neighboring countries. More than 7.5 million people do not have enough food to eat.
Salesian missionaries have been working in the Democratic Republic of Congo for more than 100 years ensuring that the most vulnerable children are not forgotten. Salesian primary and secondary schools and programs lay the foundation for early learning while Salesian trade, vocational and agricultural programs offer many youth the opportunity for a stable and productive future.