IVORY COAST: Salesian missionaries provide support to children living in shelters during coronavirus pandemic
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries working in the commune of Koumassi in the city of Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s economic capital, implemented a project supporting the Salesian-run Don Bosco Foyer and Marie Dominique Foyer, operated by the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians. There are 41 boys and 21 girls who are residents in the two homes.
Through the project, Salesian missionaries and sisters were able to acquire equipment and materials for hand-washing, personal hygiene equipment including buckets, bath towels, and soaps, sanitary hygiene washing powders, hydro-alcoholic gel, masks, sheets, mats, and more. In addition, children and staff have been instructed on how to maintain proper hygiene to help prevent the spread of the virus.
In support of these efforts, a crisis management unit has been set up and is made up of two educators in each house. The unit drafted a crisis management procedure. It is also responsible for organizing awareness sessions and workshops for children and surrounding populations, along with making awareness posters and flyers.
Don Bosco Foyer and Marie Dominique Foyer also provided holistic care for the children. Because of school closures and the lockdown, children remained in the homes. Activities were organized by the educators to keep them occupied. Planned activities included educational games and lessons, reading, and monitoring courses on television.
“Salesian missionaries living and working in cities across the Ivory Coast focus their attention on working with youth in need and their families to provide education, food security, health clinics and workforce development services,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “This work is more important than ever, but resources are limited. Salesian missionaries and sisters continue to assess needs and seek resources to support poor youth and their families.”
According to the World Bank, 46 percent of those living in the Ivory Coast live in conditions of poverty—with more than a quarter of the population living in severe poverty on less than $1.25 a day. The Ivory Coast has one of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in West Africa. While a wide range of national and international initiatives focus on HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention and testing, the collapse of public health facilities in the north as a result of years of conflict has made the situation worse.
During the country’s time of war, Salesian missionaries provided life-saving shelter, food and security for the thousands fleeing violence and seeking refuge on Salesian grounds.
Today, Salesian missionaries continue their work providing shelter, education and social development services to youth and their families. They also work with the victims of war to heal the country’s deep wounds. They listen, help victims seek compensation and work for social reconciliation between opposing groups. Known for their work with child soldiers around the globe, Salesian missionaries are also providing training for youth, some who had been aggressors during the war.
Photos courtesy of Salesian Missions (contact for usage permissions)
Salesian Missions – Ivory Coast
World Bank – Ivory Coast