UGANDA: Students Receive Soccer Equipment and Rice Meals in Recent Stop Hunger Now Donation
(MissionNewswire) Students in three Salesian communities in Uganda have received soccer equipment and access to better nutrition thanks to an ongoing partnership between Salesian Missions and Stop Hunger Now, an international relief organization that provides food and life‐saving aid to the world’s most vulnerable. This is the final of three shipments that make up a donation that has provided a total of 855,360 meals this year. The donation was shared with students at Don Bosco Children and Life Mission, located just outside of Kampala, the largest city and capital of Uganda, and in Salesian programs in the nearby town of Bombo and the town of Kamuli, located in the eastern region of the country.
The donated meals are provided to students during the school day and serve as an incentive for families to send their children to school. As a result of the donation, students are thriving. Many have gained weight, grown taller, suffered fewer illnesses and become more focused on their studies. Teachers are seeing better student performance in class and two programs have increased enrollment rates as a result of the feeding program.
“Access to nutritious meals allows youth to be better prepared to take part in school activities and focus on their education,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Prepared students are more likely to learn valuable skills that will help them gain employment and break the cycle of poverty in their lives while enabling them to give back to their communities.”
Stop Hunger Now partners with Salesian Missions (in New Rochelle, N.Y.) which works to identify needs and coordinate delivery of 40-foot shipping containers full of meals supplemented with additional supplies when available. The partnership was developed in 2011 and since that time, more than 60 shipping containers, including more than 16 million rice-meals, have been successfully delivered to 19 countries around the globe. The meals and life-saving aid has helped to nourish poor youth at Salesian schools and programs and care for those in need of emergency aid during times of war, natural disasters and health crises.
“The partnership with Stop Hunger Now allows Salesian Missions to expand its services for youth in need,” adds Fr. Hyde. “Operating feeding programs for youth in Salesian schools whose families cannot afford to feed them is very important and integral to the success of our students and their ability to gain an education.”
The recent Stop Hunger Now shipment also contained 54 boxes of soccer clothing and equipment. Sports programs are an integral part of many Salesian centers around the globe and encourage teamwork while imparting valuable leadership skills. They also teach important social skills and provide opportunities for participants to grow and mature.
The Don Bosco Children and Life Mission, the primary recipient of the donation, provides more than 200 at-risk boys aged 8 to 17 access to primary, secondary and technical education along with sports programming, youth clubs, guidance counseling and life skills training. Students also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities including Jazz band, brass band, acrobatics and Youth Alive Uganda, an organization that works with youth to promote social skills and values.
Each year, Youth Alive Uganda works with Salesian students to organize a festival to showcase singing, drama and poetry performances and fine arts exhibits. These arts activities help students express themselves and realize their individuality while developing skills and talents outside of the classroom.
UNICEF – Uganda