RWANDA: Day of the African Child celebrated with call for care
Salesian missionaries call on parents to help care for the welfare of children
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries with the St. Charles Lwanga Vice Province of Africa Great Lakes (Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda) called on parents to join together in caring for the welfare of children from birth to adulthood in honor of the Day of the African Child, which is celebrated annually on June 16. Salesians believe that it is with parent support that children will become good and valuable citizens for their country. Salesians also believe that a child has the fundamental right to grow up safely and happily, free from exploitation and abuse.
Salesian missionaries are striving to take care of as many children as possible through education in nursery schools, primary schools, secondary schools, and vocational and training schools. Education is a direct path to help children prepare for the future, and skills training helps them find and retain stable employment.
Salesians also have programs that help children learn their rights and help them to recover from abuse and neglect. Children who have faced abuse receive extra support, psychological care and assistance getting back into school. All of these activities are achieved with the help of others, including lay people, collaborators in the centers, donors, the church and the local government.
For example, Salesians are working to help at-risk youth who are living on the streets. UNICEF estimates that there are about 7,000 street children in Rwanda while close to 300,000 live in families where a minor is the head of the household. The economic challenges brought about by the pandemic have exacerbated many of these issues.
“To get youth out of this hopeless life, the first thing they need is to be shown kindness, have something to eat and go back to school,” explained Salesian Brother Hubert Twagirayezu, economer of the province. “In Rwanda, we carry out our mission among poor children and young people. In Rango, in the district of Huye, we help more than 120 street children, but at the national level there are many more.”
After bravely overcoming the trauma of the 1994 genocide, Rwandans looking to transform their country have made remarkable progress. Still, much remains to be done. Close to 39 percent of Rwandans live in poverty, according to the World Bank. Rwanda is a rural, agrarian country with about 35 percent of the population engaged in subsistence agriculture with some mineral and agro-processing. Many of the country’s orphaned children are the tragic result of a violent civil war. Half of all children drop out of primary school and 2.2 million people—22 percent of the population—face critical food shortages.
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Salesian Missions – Rwanda
UNICEF – Rwanda
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