“Take concrete actions” to Address Migration Effects on Families in Africa: Priest

Fr. Telmo Serôdio, member of the Theological Committee of the Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA). Credit: IMBISA

Organizations dealing with issues of migration in Africa need to “take concrete actions” to address the effects of the related challenges on families on the continent, a Catholic Priest in Sao Tomé and Príncipe has said.

In his reflection titled, “The African Family and Migration”, Fr. Telmo Serôdio, who is a member of the Theological Committee of the Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) underlined the need to invest in formal education.

“The Church invites the organizations to think and take concrete actions to solve the problem or minimize the effects of migration on families and people in Africa,” Fr. Serôdio said during the Thursday, April 27 virtual event that IMBISA Secretariat organized.

The Catholic Priest reflected on the 2020 Africa Migration Report, an African Union (AU) document, which looks into migration on the continent. He called for joint efforts and commitment to ensure the movement of the people of God across borders is safe.  

“Realizing a positive future for Africa will require the sustained commitment of Africa and its global partners to work together to ensure that no one is left behind and that migration remains positive, safe, and beneficial for all,” Fr. Serôdio said.


The São Toméan Catholic Priest echoes findings of the April 25 report shared with Agenzia Fides as Cape Verde prepares for the 2024 celebration of the 500th anniversary of the evangelization of Santiago, one of the archipelago’s islands, showing that there are more natives of Cape Verde away from home.

Fr. Serôdio said that poverty and violence in Africa have forced many families and individuals to flee their respective homes in search of better living conditions. 

Migration has thrown many people “into a state of stress, impoverishing the individual's main support system” and separating them from their family members, he said.

He decried absentee parenting, saying the presence or absence of parents in families “determines the children’s psycho-physical, scholastic condition, about functional and emotional balance in the family nucleus, about behavior inside and outside the domestic circle.”

“Children of migrant mothers are the most exposed to the effects of this phenomenon (absentee parenting), such as the state of craving or the feeling of fear and loneliness,” Fr. Serôdio said.

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He also linked xenophobic violence and an increase in abandoned street children to migration.

The member of the Clergy of the Catholic Diocese of Sao Tomé and Príncipe said that formal education has the potentiality of enlightening the community on matters of migration and land-related issues.

“One must invest in education for life, which implies education to a community of property, which unites all its members to that which conserves and fortifies life, for example, the land, the hereditary patrimony,” Fr. Serôdio said.

He added that “major investment in youth development, including entrepreneurial, political, social and leadership skills and development,” are some of the effective solutions to migration issues. 

To assist families to cope with the effects of migration, Fr. Serôdio said that the Church “has a special care for this (family) institution, manifesting and proposing solutions and actions that can contribute to the welfare of the family and its members, despite their wounds.”


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.