EAST TIMOR: More than 3,300 youth attending 11 Salesian centers have access to better nutrition thanks to shipment of rice-meals from Rise Against Hunger
(MissionNewswire) More than 3,300 poor youth across 11 Salesian centers in East Timor have access to better nutrition thanks to a partnership between Salesian Missions and Rise Against Hunger, an international relief organization that provides food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable. The rice-meal donation was shared with the Don Bosco Co-Educational Technical School, the Don Bosco Agricultural College, the Salesian-run Madalena Morano Center, the Don Bosco Technical School Fatumaca and the Don Bosco Orphanage, among others.
This shipment, received in October 2018, was one of two shipments sent to Salesian centers in East Timor. The second arrived in January 2019. The donated rice-meals are provided during the school day to ensure students have a healthy meal each day.
“Hungry students have trouble focusing on their studies and learning,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Proper nutrition is needed to fully take part in classroom and in-field training. Prepared students are more likely to learn valuable skills that will help them gain employment and break the cycle of poverty in their lives while enabling them to give back to their communities.”
Salesian missionaries in East Timor have been providing programs to help residents recover and rebuild in the wake of a devastating civil war in the country that claimed countless lives, decimated entire communities and resulted in living conditions that are among the worst in the world. Now that the violence has subsided, efforts are being focused on helping the poor, restoring hope and providing new opportunities for the future.
In the city of Maliana, the new Don Bosco Co-Educational Technical School has already become an important center of education. The school is focused on improving its overall facilities, including the kitchen and dormitory, and enlarging its provisions of filtered drinking water. At the Don Bosco Technical School, vocational education helps youth gain an education and prepare for the future. It serves more than 250 students, 11 percent of whom are girls, who take three-year courses in carpentry, mechanics or electronics. Each year there are more than 400 applications for the 84 student spots. Final year students are required to design and produce a product that encompasses much of what they have learned over the previous three years.
In addition to technical education, Salesian missionaries in East Timor focus on agriculture training. In the city of Fuiloro where 75 percent of the population earns a living though farming, the Don Bosco Agricultural College plays an important role in promoting better care of livestock and increasing crop yields. In 2017, there was an increase in enrollment applications and now more than 200 students take courses at the college. The school is aiming to become more self-sufficient by increasing the farm production of corn, animal feed, varied horticulture and coconut oil and improving livestock intake.
Rise Against Hunger partners with Salesian Missions which works to identify needs and coordinate delivery of 40-foot shipping containers full of meals, supplemented with additional supplies when available. The partnership was developed in 2011 and since that time shipments have been successfully delivered to 20 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,” adds Fr. Hyde. “Operating feeding programs for youth in Salesian schools whose families cannot afford to feed them is very important and integral to the success of our students.”
East Timor is home to 1.26 million people and according to the Human Development Index, the country ranked 133 out of 188 for life expectancy, access to education and standard of living in 2016. The World Bank estimates that East Timor has close to 42 percent of its population living in poverty with over one-third of the population regularly experiencing food shortages. In addition, close to 50 percent of the population is illiterate.