Focus 2022

South Sudan - AFE28-01-2022

International Salesian solidarity brings hope to Gumbo children and poor

The Salesian Missionary Foundation "Don Bosco", based in Warsaw, Poland, (Salezjanska Fundacja Misyjna "Don Bosco", in original language), started operating only in mid-2020 but has already fulfilled several important projects in Zambia, Kenya, Peru, Madagascar, and South Sudan. In the latter country, specifically in Gumbo, a few kilometers from the capital Juba, it has already built a school building last year in favor of the area’s many children and has provided food aid to hundreds of children and poor families. This year it is relaunching its activities, always putting itself at the service of people most in need.

In Gumbo, the Salesian Family has been carrying out immense work for thousands of people for years: the Sons of Don Bosco run a parish, an elementary school with 1,800 students, a high school with 450 students, a technical school, an oratory, and a camp for refugees with about 9,500 people. They are also joined by the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, who run another elementary school, and the Sisters of Charity of Jesus, who care for a health dispensary.

In support of this great Salesian educational project and solidarity, since last year there is also the Salesian Missionary Foundation "Don Bosco" of Warsaw, which, having won the call for humanitarian projects launched by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and thanks to the support of the Polish agency for international development, "Polish Aid", and in collaboration with the local Office of Planning and Development, was able to build a new school building in Gumbo, which went to strengthen the structures of the elementary school.

“In the elementary school, we reached having to do lessons with 140 students per class!,” says Fr Piotr Gozdalski, President of the Foundation. “The school was in dire need of new spaces. The 4 classrooms built are helping to divide the groups and have fewer students per class, which benefits the safety of everyone and the quality of education offered.”

Also last year, the Salesian project financed meals for 700 elementary school students and provided food for 700 of the neediest families in the refugee camp. To complete the work, it also supplied the facility with medicines and products for hygiene and personal care, accompanying these supplies with special awareness-raising sessions to encourage the adoption of healthy attitudes and habits.

This year, as part of the same project supported by "Polish Aid", the Salesian Missionary Foundation is still planning to continue to help 700 elementary school students and 700 families in the refugee camp with food support. It will also support part of the expenses of the mobile clinic to help people living in the villages near the camp to have access to necessary treatment. And two other planned projects are the installation of solar-powered lamps, to bring more security to the refugee camp, and the construction of a sports field to promote physical activity and healthy fun among the children in the camp.

“The school teachers, the kids, and the people are very happy to be able to count on our support. And we, like Don Bosco, are happy to give it to them,” concludes Fr Gozdalski.

Various videos (1 - 2) on the Foundation's support for the needy in Gumbo can be seen on its YouTube channel.