How Salesian Sisters in Zambia are Supporting Vulnerable Children amid COVID-19

Some young girls at the City of Hope in Zambia.

In a bid to keep vulnerable children in Zambia safe during the COVID-19 crisis, the female branch of the Salesians of Don Bosco, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, have undertaken various initiatives to support the children.

Also called the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco, the nuns are reaching out to the children through City of Hope, a three-in-one center consisting of a home for girls-at-risk, an open community school, and a skills training center that aims to meet the needs of youth and their families living in the most severe poverty-stricken areas of Zambia’s capital, Lusaka.

At City of Hope, the Salesian nuns are supporting the children by teaching them about issues of sexual and gender-based violence, “which has increased during the lockdown within the communities.”

To make the lessons successful, the nuns are partnering with teachers, mothers as well as educators.

“We are trying to be close to them through these other means even despite the challenges around country-wide lockdown measures. So far, we are doing well and our message is reaching them,” Mission Newswire has quoted Sr. Prisca Mulenga Mwila, a Salesian nun serving at the City of Hope, as saying.


The members of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Zambia are also helping the children adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines by facilitating girls in the program to make face masks for their personal use.

The face masks made are also distributed to others while the girls also work on completing their school packages, studying, reading, and making handcrafts.

At the 25-year-old center, the nuns are also offering shelter for at-risk girls referred there through the social welfare system, the police, and other institutions and organizations.

“Many have been orphaned and have nowhere else to go,” the Salesian nuns have reported on their website and added, “The shelter is not an orphanage but rather a safe place for girls to stay while they gain an education and make the transition either to living with other family (members) or to a more independent life.”

Currently, the shelter is home to 36 girls aged between 7 and 22. More than 150 vulnerable girls have benefitted from the shelter.

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The City of Hope’s Open Community School serves children and youths aged between nine and 17 “suffering from malnutrition, lack of education and family deprivation.”

According to the Salesian nuns in the landlocked Southern Africa nation, most City of Hope students do not have the opportunity to attend other schools because their families lack financial means. The nuns empower the girls at the center, giving the facility an identity that is true to its name: a city of hope.