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DR CONGO: Bakery supports youth training programs

Salesians open second Mamma Margherita Bakery to help earn income to support programming for poor youth


(MissionNewswire) The Salesian Projects Office of the Central Africa Province opened a second Mamma Margherita Bakery. This new bakery is located in the Kilobelobe district, a municipality annexed to Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo. During the blessing ceremony, Father Edouard Kinsamba Mutale noted that the bakery helps to train youth in baking and also provides ongoing income to support other training programs for poor and disadvantaged youth.

Nicole Kasongo, director of the Salesian Projects Office, said, “Buying bread means supporting a child. The Mamma Margherita Bakery, which was created two years ago, will also open a third store in the next few days in the Plateau Karavia district.”

Salesian missionaries have prioritized helping youth living on the streets in Lubumbashi. While the city has wealth from both agricultural and mineral resources, it faces numerous economic and social challenges. Children leave their homes for many reasons including divorce, family abuse and poverty. Living on the streets is dangerous for these youth as they are exposed to abuses, and many are forced to turn to petty crime to survive.

Salesian missionaries encourage youth to seek the support of caring adults who can help them turn their lives around and connect them with appropriate shelter and education. In Lubumbashi, missionaries operate Bakanja Ville, which is part of the local Salesian Bakanja Center for homeless children. Bakanja Ville marks the first stop in the process of welcoming children into the Salesian program, acting as a drop-in and reception center for homeless youth who are looking to escape the challenges of living on the streets.

The doors of Bakanja Ville are always open. Youth can access the program to take a shower, sleep, eat, wash their clothes and engage in activities. A file is opened for each young person who enters. Then, Salesian missionaries begin a search for family to see if reintegration is possible with the help of social workers. If not, youth are tracked into other Salesian programs where they can access education and have their basic needs met. Salesian missionaries also go out into the street twice a month to help connect with street children in their own environment to tell them about the program and offer them a safe place to stay.

“Children who are living on the streets experience discrimination and exclusion every day,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Children who are able to access programs that help them come in off the streets—where they face poverty and are at-risk for exploitation—have a chance at a better life. Salesian programs aim to help children live safely while getting the emotional support they need and the education that will help them live independently.”

Despite its vast material wealth, the Democratic Republic of the 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 the 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.



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ANS – D.R. Congo – The “Mamma Margherita Bakery” opens a new store

Salesian Missions – Democratic Republic of the Congo


*Any goods, services, or funds provided by Salesian Missions to programs located in this country were administered in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.

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