BURUNDI: Salesian Parish in Rukago continues fight against coronavirus with prevention campaign and activities
(MissionNewswire) The Salesian Parish in Rukago, Burundi, is continuing its fight against the spread of COVID-19. The pandemic has become a priority for the government since President Évariste Ndayishimiye was elected democratically in June 2020. Father Raphaël Katanga, economer of the Salesians in Rukago, explained that the new president has strengthened the fight against COVID-19 and fully supports any initiative.
The Salesian Parish has taken a number of steps to help fight the virus and keep the community safe. It has provided food for vulnerable families, in particular for the Pygmy population. The parish has carried out a widespread prevention campaign to ensure local communities understand the threat of coronavirus and the steps to take to prevent the spread of infection. Through the support of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Salesians have also installed hand-washing stations in eight churches, 15 schools and the Don Bosco Oratory.
“Installing hand-washing stations in front of churches, offices, schools and playgrounds is an effective means of fighting the coronavirus pandemic while giving the local population the hope of living,” said Fr. Katanga. “With the funding, we have also supported some vulnerable families who were at risk of facing food shortage due to the limited circulation of goods and people.”
Salesian missionaries in Rukago operate a parish, schools, a youth center and an orphanage. In November 2019 Salesian missionaries inaugurated a new building for the Maison Cana orphanage. The orphanage is managed by the Daughters of Mary –Our Lady of Cana and was founded in 1994 by Salesian Father Vital Minani, who today is the vicar of the Mary Mother of God house in Rukago. The building is a large two-story structure. The work began in 2012 with the ground floor and continued in various stages based on the availability of funds from various benefactors, mainly from the Salesian Congregation.
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 2019 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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Salesian Missions – Burundi
UNICEF – Burundi