DR CONGO: Salesians support people displaced by war
Don Bosco Shasha providing shelter and nutritional support
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries have been providing support for people displaced by the fighting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo*. Since Feb. 10, 2023, Don Bosco Shasha has been sheltering people who fled to safety in the field of the primary school. Currently, displaced families are using the classrooms for shelter.
While Salesians are providing what they can, it has become increasingly difficult for the people living in the camp. Father Kizito Tembo, a Salesian priest at Don Bosco Shasha, explained, “In the camp, life seems to have stopped. They wake up in the morning not knowing what they are going to eat or how the day will end. Worse still is when it was raining. Families huddle around the fire to keep warm. The most vulnerable are pregnant women, the elderly, the sick and children.”
People are also getting sick on their long journey from their villages to Don Bosco Shasha and while in the camp. Fr. Tembo said, “After a long road of exile, those who had caught diseases along the way began to succumb. Children have become victims of cholera, measles and malnourishment. Pregnant women have miscarriages and others have stillbirths. Misery upon misery. Breastfeeding women do not have enough breast milk, which is a disaster for babies.”
Salesians are providing porridge for the children who are facing malnutrition and for the sick in the hopes that food will make them strong enough to fight their illness. Salesians are also trying to get youth back into school.
Fr. Tembo added, “We intend to give all the children the chance to go back to school with the other students at the Don Bosco Shasha primary school. We are also offering skill training for older youth who want to learn a skill for employment. But this recovery is slow, because our forces are too limited.”
Fr. Tembo calls on the international community to remember the plight of those impacted by the ongoing violence and the many who have had to flee with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.
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.
Photo courtesy of Don Bosco Shasha
Salesian Missions – Democratic Republic of the Congo
UNHCR – Democratic Republic of the Congo
*Any goods, services, or funds provided by Salesian Missions to programs located in these countries 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.