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DR CONGO: Salesians to rebuild after storm damages school facilities

Boarding school building at Salesian-run Cité des Jeunes School lost its roof due to strong winds and torrential rain

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

(MissionNewswire) The Salesian-run Cité des Jeunes School in Lubumbashi, in the south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, had the roof blown off its boarding building due to strong winds and torrential rain. The impact of the storm ripped off the entire metal structure and metal sheets, which also caused bricks to fall from the wall and several doors and windows to break. Youth have been evacuated, and no one was hurt during the incident.

The boarding school welcomes 100 youth each year, and 80 percent of them live in extreme poverty. Without the boarding building, these youth have nowhere to sleep. The goal now is to find the funding and support to be able to rebuild.

“When incidents like this happen at Salesian programs it becomes challenging because of the limited resources available to rebuild,” 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 like this 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.”

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.

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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Sources:

ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)

ANS – Democratic Republic of Congo – An unfortunate accident damages the Salesian “Cité des Jeunes” in Lubumbashi

Salesian Missions – Democratic Republic of the Congo

UNICEF – DR 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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