SOUTH SUDAN: Families receive food, medicine in camp for internally displaced
Salesian Missionary Foundation provides educational and social development initiatives in Gumbo
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries have been working in Gumbo, South Sudan, helping thousands of people over the last several years. Salesians operate a parish, an elementary school for 1,800 students, a high school with 450 students, a technical school, an oratory and a camp for those who have been internally displaced that is home to 9,500 people. Salesians also work in collaboration with the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, who run another elementary school, and the Sisters of Charity of Jesus, who provide a health dispensary.
Most recently, the Salesian Missionary Foundation, based in Warsaw, Poland, built a school in Gumbo for poor children in the area. Father Piotr Gozdalski, president of the foundation, said, “In the elementary school, we have 140 students per class. The school was in dire need of new spaces. The four classrooms built are helping to divide the groups and have fewer students per class, which benefits the safety of everyone and the quality of education offered.”
Last year, the Salesian Missionary Foundation also paid for meals for 700 elementary school students and provided food for 700 of the neediest families in the camp. The foundation also supplied the dispensary with medicines and products for hygiene and personal care. Educational sessions were held to encourage the adoption of healthy habits.
As part of the same project supported by Polish aid, this year the Salesian Missionary Foundation is planning to continue to help 700 elementary school students and 700 families in the camp with food aid. The foundation will also provide financial support to a mobile clinic for people living in the villages so they have some access to medical care.
Two new projects are also being launched. Salesians are installing solar-powered lamps to bring more light and security to the camp. They will also construct a sports field to promote physical activity and healthy fun among the children in the camp. Fr. Gozdalski added, “The school teachers, the kids and the people are very happy to be able to count on our support. And we, like Don Bosco, are happy to give it to them.”
South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan in 2011 but has faced an ongoing civil war that started in December 2013 and resulted in a dire humanitarian crisis even before the coronavirus pandemic. Responding to the civil strife is nothing new to Salesian missionaries in South Sudan, who are dedicated to the programs and services they are providing across the country.
South Sudan is expansive and largely rural with 83 percent of the population residing in rural areas. Poverty is endemic with at least 80 percent of the population defined as income-poor and living on the equivalent of less than $1 per day, according to the World Bank. More than one-third of the population lacks secure access to food.
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Salesian Missions – South Sudan
World Bank – South Sudan
Any goods, services or funds provided by Salesian Missions to programs located in this country were administered in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.