On Global Day of Parents, Salesian Entity Highlights Family Initiatives in South Sudan

Families receive food, medicine in camp for internally displaced in South Sudan. Credit: Salesian Missions

On the occasion of the Global Day of Parents marked Wednesday, June 1, Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), has highlighted initiatives toward parents and children around the world, including South Sudan.

In a Wednesday, June 1 report, Salesian Missions officials say that in “their work in more than 130 countries around the globe, Salesian missionaries provide support to the parents of the children in their programs.”

“There are many ways Salesian programs support parents,” Salesian Missions Director, Fr. Gus Baek has been quoted as saying.

Fr. Baek adds, “Whether it’s education that we are providing so young single mothers can learn a skill for employment or providing feeding programs to ensure children have at least one meal a day at school or even providing health clinics, Salesians are not only taking care of youth but the whole family.”

In South Sudan, officials of the SDB entity say, “Salesian missionaries have been working in Gumbo, helping thousands of people over the last several years.”


They add, “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 (Salesian Sisters), who run another elementary school, and the Sisters of Charity of Jesus, who provide a health dispensary,” Salesian Missions officials say.

Most recently, they continue, “the Salesian Missionary Foundation, based in Warsaw, Poland, built a school in Gumbo for poor children in the area.”

 “In the elementary school, we have 140 students per class. The school was in dire need of new spaces,” the president of the Salesian Missionary Foundation in Poland, Fr. Piotr Gozdalski, has been quoted as saying in the June 1 report.

He adds, “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.”

More in Africa

“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,” officials of the SDB entity say about their family initiatives in the East-Central African nation.

They add, “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.”

Celebrated annually since 2012, the Global Day of Parents provides an opportunity to appreciate all parents for their commitment to children.

In marking the day, the United Nations leadership stated that the celebration “recognizes also that the family has the primary responsibility for the nurturing and protection of children. For the full and harmonious development of their personality, children should grow up in a family environment and an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding.”

This year’s celebration had the theme, “Appreciate all parents throughout the world,” a message that was an endorsement of the struggles and sacrifices parents undergo globally in the process of raising up their children to become good people.


Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.