Thousands in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region Benefit from Salesians Humanitarian Aid

Credit: Salesian Missions

The leadership of the U.S.-based development arm of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), Salesian Missions, has said thousands of people have benefited from the entity’s humanitarian kitty in Ethiopia’s Tigray region during the two-year violent conflict.

Violent conflict in the Tigray region started in November 2020 when the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) allegedly launched an attack on Ethiopia’s Federal Government Army base in the region.

TPLF and people in the Tigray region were reportedly opposed to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s bid to centralize power in Africa's second most populous country.

On 2 November 2022, a peace agreement between the Ethiopian government and TPLF was reached in Pretoria, South Africa, in which the two parties pledged to “permanently silence the guns and end the two years of conflict in northern Ethiopia”.

In a Wednesday, February 22 report, Salesian Missions officials say that normalcy is slowly returning to the region following the Pretoria peace deal. 


“During the conflict, when there were no basic services like phone, electricity, banks or transportation, Salesians provided aid for more than 100,000 people,” officials of the SDB entity say.

In collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP), SDB officials say that both food aid and essential items were provided to the victims of war who were in need of humanitarian aid.

“A shipment of goods was sent to the Salesian center in Mekele. From there, it was distributed among many other areas that were in need,” they say, adding, “Distribution was challenged with no fuel, lack of funding for unloading and loading, and limited transportation.”

The Salesian officials acknowledge the support of Catholic Parish personnel including members of the Clergy who volunteered their time to help distribute the goods in the region that has close to seven million people affected by the violent conflict. 

In the February 22 report, SDB officials also recount the limited number of humanitarian organizations in the region that only allowed about 15 percent of the aid to reach those in need.

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Despite the signing of the peace deal, the Salesian Missions officials report that people still need help because they do not have access to their bank accounts even after the financial institutions were opened.

“People are still in need of food and non-food items. Psychological assistance for those impacted and educational centers are starting back up, but first, people need to have some food and they have to take care of their health.” Fr. Abba Hailemariam Medhin, the provincial of the Africa-Ethiopia-Eritrea (AET) vice-province has been quoted as saying.

Fr. Medhin adds, “The access to send humanitarian aid to Tigray has become easier and we continue to assist people that have been impacted.”

On their presence in the Horn of the African nation, the officials of the SDB entity say, “Salesians are in the unique position of living in the communities in which they work. As a result, Salesians have 14 houses in Ethiopia, with four in Mekele, Adigrat, Adwa, and Shire in Tigray, and three houses in Eritrea.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.