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26/11/2015 - United States - Salesians fighting against Hunger

(ANS – New Rochelle) – More than 793 million people around the world go hungry every day, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. And according to the World Food Program and the United Nations, 2 billion people lack the vitamins and minerals needed to live healthy lives.Against this the Salesians are busy with numerous food projects, feeding children and young people in their works and promoting agricultural education and the development of sustainable food systems.

Operating primary schools, technical training centers, agricultural schools, youth centers, orphanages and programs for street children, Salesian missionaries are on the front lines of the battle against hunger. Working and living in the communities they serve, Salesian missionaries are perfectly positioned to ensure that the distribution of food aid reaches those who need it most.

Salesian food programs provide meals to students during the school day and serve as an incentive for families to send their children to school. “The meals children receive at Salesian schools may be their only meals. This food not only encourages them to attend school, it allows them to focus on getting the education they need without worrying about where their next meal will come from. Children cannot learn on an empty stomach.” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco.

As a result of the feeding programs, students are thriving. Many have gained weight, suffered fewer illnesses and become more focused on their studies. Teachers are seeing better student performance in class, a decrease in absenteeism and an increase in program enrollment rates.

Many Salesian programs all over the world are also dedicated to developing sustainable food systems and providing agricultural education.

For instance, Salesian-run Don Bosco Kep, located in Kep Province, Cambodia, has developed a small farm to better serve the needs of poor and disadvantaged youth in the region.

The Don Bosco Agro-Educational Complex, located in the town of Sulcorna in the state of Goa in western India, has developed the area’s first agriculture college. The new college will utilize 110 acres of fertile land for hands-on farm training and emphasize organic cultivation in its four-year degree program.

The Austrian Salesian Youth of the World program has planned its second agricultural project in the town of Moatize, located in the Tete province in northern Mozambique. The project, which will be carried out in seven different rural communities, aims to educate farmers in the latest innovations in agriculture and livestock techniques in order to improve food security and increase income potential. The project will train close to 1,000 families, or about 5,000 people. With increased food production in the small rural communities participating in the program, about 8,000 residents will be positively impacted.

Published 26/11/2015

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