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MADAGASCAR: Rice-Meal Donation from Feed My Starving Children Helps Feed Poor Youth and Their Families in Salesian Programs

(MissionNewswire) Youth and their families in four Salesian programs in Madagascar have access to better nutrition thanks to a recent shipment of rice-meals through an ongoing partnership between Salesian Missions and Feed My Starving Children, a nonprofit Christian organization committed to “feeding God’s children hungry in body and spirit.” Our Lady of Clairvaux Center in Ivato, Don Bosco House in Fianarantsoa, Salesians of Don Bosco in Betafo, and Salesians from Don Bosco in Mahajanga were all beneficiaries of this donation.

At the Salesian-run Our Lady of Clairvaux and the Rinaldi School, students who are taking part in vocational training are able to access feeding programs at the school to ensure that they have balanced meals and can focus on their studies. There are 70 students who are hosted at the school’s boarding school. Many of the students are orphans or are from very poor families who are unable to pay for them to attend school or have the proper nutrition to be prepared for school.

In the district of Ivato, 160 disadvantaged boys and girls attend a primary school managed by Salesian missionaries. These students access a feeding program each morning to receive a bowl of rice to start their day. Salesian missionaries report that there is joy in the eyes and smiles of their students because they know that each dish of rice corresponds to one day less in the street in search of something to survive. Each rice dish is not just a rice dish, but also a small way to ensure and protect the rights to life and education of every child.

Other beneficiaries are from the Don Bosco House in Fianarantsoa. Noelson, 12 years old, lives with his mother Emilienne and his little sister Annie, 6 years old. Emilienne had been affected by very severe respiratory tuberculosis as well as by severe malnutrition. Because of this, she had not been able to properly care for her children. Annie was also quite sick with extra-pulmonary tuberculosis and other disabilities. Noelson had been forced to give up school and find odd jobs on the street to help care for his mother and sister. To help the family, Don Bosco House provided rice-meal to feed the family two meals each day. Because they have been able to access proper nutrition, Emilienne has recovered, and she has strength to work again. Annie is becoming stronger, and Noelson is finally able to go to school.

“Feeding programs are a necessity to meet the needs of the massive number of children around the globe who are hungry today,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Meals children receive at Salesian schools may be their only meals. This food not only encourages them to attend school, it allows them to focus on getting the education they need without worrying about where their next meal will come from. Children cannot learn on an empty stomach.”

Madagascar, an island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of East Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. Seventy percent of Madagascar’s almost 19 million people lives in poverty with 5.7 million of those youth between the ages of 10 and 24 years, according to UNICEF. This number is expected to double by 2025. Due to Madagascar’s poverty, geography and an ongoing political crisis, the country is ranked 143 out of the 177 countries classified by the Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Program. Women and children in the country are particularly vulnerable to the effects of poverty.

For close to 80 percent of the country’s inhabitants who live in rural areas and practice subsistence farming, living conditions have been steadily declining in recent years, particularly when it comes to access to transportation, health services, education and markets. Because of the lack of hygiene and access to safe drinking water coupled with chronic malnutrition, people in Madagascar often suffer from respiratory ailments, tuberculosis and hepatitis.



Feed My Starving Children

UNICEF – Madagascar

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