SWAZILAND: 3 missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians coordinate relief efforts impacting more than 900 families in 52 villages
(MissionNewswire) Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians, Sister Elsa P. Joseph, Sister Mary Clara Topno and Sister Susan Soren, based at the Salesian Parish St John Bosco, located in Malkerns, Swaziland, launched impressive relief efforts in the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Salesian sisters wrote letters and presented aid projects to individuals, companies, friends and benefactors, involving diverse people in their initiatives. They rallied support from truck drivers who made available their vehicles and their expertise to deliver the aid. They also garnered support from the Indonesian Consulate and the Taiwanese Embassy who shipped several tons of food.
While planning for the arrival of the food aid, the sisters identified priority recipients, including the poor, sick, elderly and lonely. The sisters worked in collaboration with the village heads, the catechists and local authorities in all phases of gathering and disseminating information and aid. From March 14 until the end of May, they physically distributed food and health and protection devices to 900 families in 52 villages, while also making the population aware of the correct prophylaxis practices.
At the end of their activities, the sisters met to thank everyone including volunteers and benefactors, Father Martin McCormack, and Father Mbongiseni Shabangu. Their work was so appreciated that Father George Menamparampil, the Salesian deputy from the congregation for the coordination of emergency activities for COVID-19, declared, “Congratulations, sisters! You have become experts in resource mobilization, an excellent model for all of us!”
The people of Swaziland face immense challenges including poverty, chronic food insecurity, HIV/AIDS and a climate that is often unpredictable. According to the World Bank, an estimated 63 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, and about 29 percent lives below the extreme poverty line. The HIV/AIDS prevalence of 31 percent of the population is among the highest in the world and life expectancy has fallen to approximately 49 years.
Salesian missionaries work to meet the most basic needs while providing education to youth in need. With education, youth can find and retain employment and in turn give back to their families and communities.
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Salesian Missions – Swaziland