RWANDA: Salesian missionaries launch feeding programs to support communities during coronavirus pandemic
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries of the Africa Great Lakes Vice Province have donated food supplies to people suffering from hunger in the period of confinement imposed to counter the spread of the coronavirus. The food was purchased at the local market and then donated to Caritas at the Salesian Rango Parish in Rwanda.
Father Ryszard Józwiak, a Salesian missionary, worked in collaboration with the Salesian Missions project’s office in Krakow, Poland, to develop a long-term project in Rwanda. Father Rémy Nsengiyumva, a Salesian priest at Rango, observed that after the epidemic the community, as well as the whole Rwandan population, will have to follow measures imposed by the government to continue to fight the pandemic.
“This confinement has severely affected the population, which is now facing hunger,” explained Fr. Nsengiyumva after receiving the donation. “Many cannot leave their homes to get food or go to work. We have people who work as hairdressers and motorcycle mechanics who no longer have a job. They have been forced to stop working. The Salesian community intervened to deal with this serious problem.”
Salesians are also delivering aid to other parishes not directly linked to the Salesians starting with Save Parish, located in Butare. Save Parish priest, Father Fidele Mukwiye, commended Salesian benefactors who have continued to support needy people since the outbreak. Fr. Mukwiye explained that the aid will be delivered to those who are old, sick people who are in bed, orphans, and Burundian refugees hosted at Save Parish.
Salesian missionaries have been living and working in the Great Lakes region of Rwanda for more than 50 years providing education and social programs to give youth hope for a brighter future.
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. Rwandans are anxious to move their country forward but need substantial help to do so.
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 and with some mineral and agro-processing.
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Salesian Missions – Rwanda
UNICEF – Rwanda