SOUTH AFRICA: Salesian missionaries provide relief supplies and social support in Cape Town
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Cape Town, South Africa, have been responding to COVID-19 with relief supplies, psychological support and prevention campaigns. The Salesian Life Choices program phoned 900 people, sent 800 messages and reached over 50,000 users on Facebook with prevention messages to combat coronavirus.
The Life Choices program also provided remote psychological counseling sessions for adults and youth, professional orientation sessions for teens, and job search advice for their parents. Staff members have also provided 220 vouchers for the purchase of food to families.
Leaders of the Salesian Youth Institute Projects were able to provide 171 beneficiaries, identified in 27 different communities around the city, with weekly packs of food thanks to the support of partner organizations. The Salesian Institute has 16 volunteers who made sure that the food parcels reached the right families.
The Salesian Institute is also preparing to restart some of its programs. The Minister of Fundamental Education announced that students could return to school on June 1. To meet the requirements of the law and public health measures, the Salesian Institute is cleaning and sanitizing buildings and classrooms.
In Ennerdale, a suburb of Johannesburg, Brother Clarence Watts noted that families were grateful for the food support they received from the Salesians. He said, “The families were contacted to inform them to come to the school with their children who attend Laura Vicuna to collect a parcel of food. They had arrived early in the morning and were anxious to receive help. When they arrived at the classroom and saw what they were going to receive, they were amazed. There were tears of joy in their eyes and their faces sparkled with relief. They could not thank us enough for the food supplies. They even danced with joy.”
Bro. Watts added, “They have sent messages to say how much they appreciate this tremendous help and that they could now feed their families for a while. We have also promised more help for food parcels that will be distributed at a later stage.”
Poverty is extensive in South Africa with more than half the population and more than 63 percent of children living below the poverty line, according to UNICEF. A significant percentage of the population struggles to survive on less than $1 a day. The country is plagued by high crime rates and violence against women and girls and has been the hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS crisis in the world. There is an urgent need for education to help prevent the spread of the deadly virus and to help lift youth out of poverty.
Salesian missionaries have been working to restore hope in South Africa, particularly among poor youth. From empowering girls and young women to building schools and teaching trade skills, missionaries have a long history of affecting change in the country.
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Salesian Missions – South Africa
UNICEF – South Africa