UGANDA: Italian Salesian missionary is sending equipment and supplies to Palabek Refugee Settlement to support refugees in their technical education
(MissionNewswire) Giacomo Comino, a Salesian missionary living in Fossano, a town in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, has launched a new project to help support refugees in the Palabek Refugee Settlement in northern Uganda. The Palabek Refugee Settlement is currently home to 42,000 people with an average of 300 new refugees from South Sudan arriving each week. It was officially set up in April 2016 to reduce congestion in larger refugee camps in the northwestern corner of Uganda.
Comino’s goal is to help refugees better learn a trade and have the equipment necessary to do so. Often, students at the refugee settlement do not have the tools to practice their trade or make necessary repairs. Comino is aiming to change that by sending boxes of metal, computers, mixers, shovels, spades and even a forklift that will be used to lift loads.
Helping in this endeavor is Flavio Filippi, a former business owner in the field of tools and hardware sales. Since leaving his business to his children, Filippi has decided to give back. He is working to provide as much material as possible to Comino to send to the Palabek Refugee Settlement. The shipment is expected to arrive in Uganda in February.
Comino envisions refugees being able to set up small workshops so they can continue expanding their technical skills in their chosen trade in order to begin earning a living. The goal being to grant refugees the dignity of earning a living and supporting themselves and their community.
Salesian missionaries are offering much-needed psychosocial support and pastoral care for thousands of Christian residents in the Palabek Refugee Settlement in addition to operating four nursery schools that educate more than 1,000 children. In addition, there are over 700 children attending Salesian primary and secondary schools and more than 700 families that are supported by various other initiatives.
Currently, Salesian missionaries are in the process of constructing a vocational/technical training center with the intention of offering life skills training and other training to help youth prepare for employment.
Salesian missionaries arrived at the Palabek Refugee Settlement in June 2017. At the start, the precariousness of the situation forced Salesian missionaries to live in huts with the refugees. Eventually, they built simple rooms, sanitation and water facilities, small structures for gatherings and various chapels and schools for children.
Close to 67 percent of Ugandans are either poor or highly vulnerable to poverty, according to UNICEF. While the country has seen some economic growth as well as improvement in its Human Development Index ranking over the last 20 years, the country still ranks near the bottom at 163 out of 188 countries. After decades of war left many displaced, the people of Uganda face many significant challenges as they work to rebuild their country.
Uganda’s literacy rate has improved with 73 percent of the population literate but only 23 percent of Ugandans go on to acquire a secondary education. According to UNICEF, one of the biggest challenges in the country is combating the serious increase of HIV/AIDS that has left millions of children orphaned.
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