, 06 June, 2020 / 1:00 AM
The plight of street children in Angola’s capital, Luanda amid COVId-19 restrictions is a course for concern, the leadership of the U.S.-based Salesian Missions, the development arm of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) that supports homeless boys and girls in the Southern African nation has reported.
Salesian Missions reaches out to the vulnerable youth in Angola through the Salesian International Volunteering for Development (VIS) and Salesian missionaries in the region.
In a report on the occasion of the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression marked Thursday June 4, the leadership of Salesian Missions indicated that as authorities in Angola fight against the effects of COVID-19, “the most vulnerable in society are street children who have nowhere to turn and no one to care for them.”
In the report published Thursday, June 4 by Mission Newswire, the official news service of the Salesian Missions, the leadership says that among the street children most at risk and most exposed are those in the territory of the Archdiocese of Luanda.
“Street children are increasingly exposed to the risks of the street including diseases and violence from adults including law enforcement, and they lack means to support themselves,” the leadership of the US-based agency has reported.
To address some of the challenges facing the youths in the oil-rich country, Salesian Missions is running the “Let’s go together” project, which has opened a new emergency center where street children are offered a place to live far from the dangers of street life.
At the emergency center supported by the European Union (EU) and other benefactors, boys and girls receive “protection, nutrition, hygiene products and the attention of many social educators and volunteers who dedicate themselves to helping youth organize their daily lives, learn and respect the rules, and take responsibility for their futures.”
“Education is always our primary focus, but we know (the) youth are dealing with much more than just needing access to education,” the Director of Salesian Missions, Fr. Gus Baek has been quoted as saying.
He adds, “Salesian missionaries help rehabilitate child soldiers and street children and provide education on child rights to ensure that youth have a sense of personal dignity and self-worth.”
Marked annually on June 4 since its United Nations designation in 1982, the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression acknowledges the pain suffered by children throughout the world who are the victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse.
The day also affirms the commitment by the UN and the international community to protect the rights of children, work that is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most rapidly and widely ratified international human rights treaty in history.
“Through education and social development programming, Salesian missionaries in more than 130 countries around the globe work to ensure that all youth know their rights, are able to fully participate in their communities, and receive the support they need in the aftermath of trauma and abuse,” the leadership of Salesian Missions has reported.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa