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Salesians in Namibia Reach Out to Dozens of Vulnerable Children with Nutritional Support

Some vulnerable children at the Don Bosco pre-school and parents in the Apostolic Vicariate of Rundu in northern Namibia. Credit: Salesian Missions

Dozens of vulnerable children in the Southern African nation of Namibia are receiving nutritional support through a feeding program at Don Bosco Youth Center amid COVID-19 challenges.

Facilitated by Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), the initiative at the facility in the Apostolic Vicariate of Rundu in Northern Namibia benefits more than 100 children.

SDB members at the Center have been able to feed vulnerable children who are part of the Don Bosco pre-school and parents, the leadership of the project has said in a report shared with ACI Africa Wednesday, September 15.

“The project benefited 123 children ages 3-11 who are from poor families, orphans and from families headed by children. They also provided hand sanitizer for the prevention of COVID-19 and bought blankets,” Salesian Missions officials in the report published Monday, September 13.

Then Center’s Project Manager, Fr. Louis Malawa, acknowledges the entity facilitating the support saying, “The funding provided from Salesian Missions enabled us to feed vulnerable children who are part of the Don Bosco Center’s pre-school.”

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“This is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic when children are more at risk of malnutrition,” Fr. Malawa further says and continues in the report published by the Salesian Missions official news service, the MissionNewswire, “We supported some families that are struggling during this time, and the food and other supplies were greatly appreciated.” 

Opened in 2002 to provide shelter and services for homeless youth and vulnerable children, Don Bosco Youth Center in Rundu Apostolic Vicariate offers computer classes for 65 students, pre-school learning for 70 children, and school for 104 students who have dropped out of formal education, officials of Salesian Missions have reported.

One of the beneficiaries of the initiative, Veronica, says the donation has enabled her meet her basic needs, including food and clothing.

“I am an orphan and have benefited so much from the help. Before the food that was provided, I was looking for food in bins and having to beg. Now I have food and clothes and feel very happy,” Veronica has been quoted as saying.

Located 700km from the capital city, Windhoek, Rundu is the second largest city in Namibia lying on the borders of Angola, Zambia and Botswana. 

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The city is a desert area making cultivation of food very difficult, thus leaving the population of close to 110,000 people in abject poverty, SDB members in Namibia have reported.

While Salesian Missions programs in the 2.4-million-population nation primarily focus on education, SDB members in Namibia strive to offer feeding support to youths who have dropped out of school, as well as vulnerable children.

“Salesian primary and secondary education in the country helps youth prepare for later technical, vocational or university study,” SDB members say in the report shared with ACI Africa.

They add, “Other programs help to support poor youth and their families by meeting the basic needs of shelter, proper nutrition and medical care.”