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BURUNDI: More than 1,200 students at Lycée Don Bosco had access to better nutrition thanks to Rise Against Hunger rice-meals

(MissionNewswire) More than 1,200 students attending Lycée Don Bosco, located in Bujumbura, Burundi, 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 rice-meals were provided to students during school hours. Students were provided one meal a day on five days of the week and two meals on two days of the week.

Students attending Lycée Don Bosco often have challenges with hunger. Many do not have enough to eat and their studies suffer because of it. Students miss school or do not pay attention. They cannot focus on an empty stomach. One of the students, 18-year-old Irakoze Anderson Mike, was unable to concentrate during his school lessons. He came from a poor family and was lucky if he had one meal a day at home. He often did not follow the lessons from his teacher because he was prone to sleeping during class because of weakness and hunger.

After having access to the rice-meals at school, things changed for Mike. He said, “Now that I am able to eat at school, I can focus both in the morning and afternoon classes. I have enough energy to play sports, too, and spend time with my friends, who also like and appreciate the Rise Against Hunger meals.”

Mbaga Corneille, principal of Lycée Don Bosco, has seen positive outcomes for other students. She said, “Students are happy and studying well. They are enjoying more time with their peers now that they have the energy from the rice-meals.”

Rise Against Hunger partners with Salesian Missions, which works to identify needs and coordinate delivery of 40-foot shipping containers full of meals and 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.”

Burundi, 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, according to UNICEF. Burundi ranks 185 out of 189 countries on the 2017 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 the country’s rampant poverty. Fifty-three percent of children under the age of 5 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.

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Sources:

Rise Against Hunger

Salesian Missions – Burundi

UNICEF – Burundi