BURUNDI: Fortified Rice Meals from Stop Hunger Now Feed 800 Hungry Youth at Salesian School
(MissionNewswire) More than 800 youth participating in three different Salesian-run programs in Burundi have better access to nutrition thanks to a recent donation of fortified rice-meals. The donation was made possible through an ongoing partnership between Salesian Missions and Stop Hunger Now, an international relief organization that provides food and life‐saving aid to the world’s most vulnerable.
According to UNICEF, Burundi, which is located in the heart of the African Great Lakes region, has seen more than a decade of violence and conflict which has contributed to widespread poverty. Burundi ranks 167 out 177 countries on the 2008 UN Human Development Index, and close to 70 percent of its residents live below the poverty line.
Children are some of the most severely affected by this rampant poverty. Fifty-three percent of children under the age of five suffer from growth stunting caused by inadequate food, low-quality diet, poor infant feeding practices, poor household management of childhood diseases and the general decline of the country’s health system.
Don Bosco High School, Ngozi was the primary recipient of the donation from Stop Hunger Now. The school has close to 750 students gaining a secondary education and the necessary foundation to help them pursue advanced studies. Students both live and learn at the school and are eligible to receive three balanced meals while in the program.
“Many of the youth who participate in Salesian programs in Burundi are malnourished,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “When youth receive nutritious meals, they are better prepared to take part in educational programs being offered.”
Don Bosco Buterere Youth Center was another recipient of the Stop Hunger Now donation. Here, Salesians care for at-risk youth and orphans once living on the streets, providing them food, shelter and an education. For some of the youth, the fortified-rice meals are the only balanced meal they receive in a day. The Salesian Professional Center, Rukago also received the fortified-rice meals. This trade school helps poor youth learn professional trades that lead to livable wage employment.
“Access to nutritious meals allows youth to be better prepared to take part in school activities and focus on their education,” adds Fr. Hyde. “Prepared students are more likely to learn valuable skills that will help them gain employment, break the cycle of poverty in their lives and enable them to give back to their communities.”
“The partnership with Stop Hunger Now allows Salesian Missions to expand the scope of services to youth in need,” says Jessica O’Connor, property and logistics officer at the Salesian Missions Office for International Programs. “Operating feeding programs for youth in Salesian schools whose families cannot afford to feed them is very important and integral to the success of our students and their ability to gain an education.”
UNICEF – Poverty in Burundi