ETHIOPIA: Salesian missionaries provide health prevention information and support to 24,000 youth in 14 Salesian educational centers
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, continue to support the poor and those at risk during the coronavirus pandemic. Missionaries have been supporting street children and vulnerable elderly populations. The lockdown that was imposed to stop the spread of the virus has made these and other at-risk populations even more vulnerable to conditions of poverty.
Street children, who once went to bus stations to help carry bags and assist drivers to make a meager amount of money for survival, are left with no means at all. Salesian missionaries are helping by providing these youth with food and prevention information so they can protect themselves against the virus. Missionaries have also taught them how to safely prepare food.
Salesian missionaries have also provided health prevention information to 24,000 youth from the 14 formal and non-formal Salesian education centers throughout the country. They have also been helping Salesian staff and their families through this difficult time as prices for food and supplies continue to rise.
“Salesian missionaries in Ethiopia and around the globe are helping at-risk populations with food, hygiene supplies and prevention information to help them get through this difficult time,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Because Salesian missionaries live in the communities in which they work, they are perfectly positioned to understand the needs and ensure relief supplies are in the hands of those who need it most.”
Salesian missionaries have also focused on people in prison, where risk of the virus spreading rapidly is great. The director of several prisons expressed his gratitude to Salesian missionaries by saying that they were relieved by the support provided. Prisons did not have enough water containers for hand-washing, masks, soap and disinfectants to prevent the spread of the virus, but donations were made to improve the situation and avoid mass infections.
Salesian missionaries always coordinate their initiatives with local authorities. The purchase of hygiene materials, food and masks is combined with awareness programs to ensure that local populations are learning the basic safety measures to help minimize the spread of the virus.
Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world with more than 38 percent of its population living in poverty, according to Feed the Future. Close to 85 percent of the country’s workforce is employed in agriculture but frequent droughts severely affect the agricultural economy leaving more than 12 million people chronically, or at least periodically, food insecure. In addition, more than two-thirds of the population is illiterate.
The country has 4 million orphans which account for nearly 12 percent of all children and according to UNICEF, more than half a million of these were orphaned as a result of the HIV/AIDS crisis that has affected the country. Thousands more children run away each year seeking a better life on the streets.
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Salesian Missions – Ethiopia
UNICEF – Ethiopia