ANGOLA: Donation to Salesian Missions helps provide nutritious food to boarding school for street children
(MissionNewswire) Thanks to recent generous donation, Salesian Missions was able to support the nutritional needs of 40 students at the Salesian-run Mama Margarita Home in Luanda, Angola. The program is one of several programs that are a part of Don Bosco Homes in the city. Donor funding was used to purchase food for the 8- to 14-year-old youth who live there as boarding students. All of the youth were at one time living on the streets of Luanda with nowhere else to turn.
The network of Don Bosco Homes has various programs addressing the needs of street children. The first contact Salesian missionaries have with youth starts in the streets of Luanda. Shelter and educational programs are offered. Those who are interested are taken to the Miguel Magone house where they spend a night in safety and have meals the following day. Once youth begin preparation to live with other children, they go to the Mama Margarita Home and live there as boarding students. Here they can access education and gain the foundational skills needed for further education and long-term employment.
“We are thankful for the recent donation so we could buy food for the Mama Margarita Home, where there are currently 40 children,” says Brother Maximo Herrera, economer of Don Bosco Homes. “We have prioritized buying milk and sugar because they fortify students’ health and are expensive in Angola. All of the children are from the streets of Luanda and the majority have nutritional issues.”
The Don Bosco Homes has seen success with youth in its program. Pedro Caridade was once living on the street but after accessing the program he had a chance at a better life. Today, he is now an educator, teaching within the Don Bosco network. Caridade also accompanies other children in their reintegration process within their families and society. He became the first educator who completed all the stages in the Don Bosco Homes and was hired by Salesian missionaries.
Salesian missionaries in Angola have been rebuilding infrastructure that was damaged during a civil war in the country that lasted from 1975 to 2002. Much was destroyed during the conflict including schools, medical buildings and churches. Living within the communities in which they work, Salesian missionaries have been perfectly positioned to respond to local needs and lead projects for community betterment.
During the civil war, educational disparities were widespread but recent reforms have paved the way for more youth to have better access to education and social equality. According to UNICEF, more than 36 percent of the population lives in poverty. In addition, more than one in 10 children under the age of 14 has lost one or both parents and 43,000 are separated from their families. As a result, nearly a third of these children are working and child trafficking has become an emerging problem in the country.
With a 67 percent illiteracy rate, the educational opportunities provided by Salesian programs can be truly life changing. Through these programs, both youth and adults have access to schools and educational programs. Classes range from simple lessons in reading and writing for adults in refugee camps to shelter and education for street children. Students are also able to access life skills training, workforce development opportunities and nutrition programs.
Salesian Missions the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco.
Salesian Missions donor services
UNICEF – Angola