The Salesians of Don Bosco are well placed to enact a co-ordinated response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
In 134 countries around the world, they are working at the grassroots levels within communities providing daily essential services such as education, healthcare, shelter and nutrition.
They are involved with local communities at a face-to-face level and provide quick, compassionate and effective aid in times of natural disaster.
While it seems that the effects of COVID-19 are easing in Australia and other similarly placed countries, signified by easing lockdown restrictions, a major humanitarian crisis may loom in the foreseeable future.
Lockdown restrictions around the world have caused a momentous slowdown of the global economy, which will cause severe flow-on effects to those who are already on the brink of survival. The United Nations’ World Food Programme projects that starvation will be a significant problem, affecting up to 230 million people.
Africa is already the worst affected continent, as it currently experiences intermittent food shortages due to floods, droughts and locusts, which heavily damage harvest yields. Conflict, natural disasters and other compounding issues throughout the Middle East, Latin America and Asia also conspire towards food shortages, leading to malnutrition in children and Adults.
“Creative global solidarity”is Pope Francis’ plea to all people, as he asks us to help avoid a terrifying humanitarian tragedy. In response to this, Fr Angel Artime, Rector Major of the Salesians, have set up an ‘Emergency Solidarity Fund’ to support Salesian works around the world that are responding those who need it the most.
Salesian Missions Australia has a long history of providing vocational training to underprivileged children, women and men, so that they may find employment in fields that will ultimately lead to self-sufficiency for themselves and their countries. This work is crucial and we maintain it at all times, whilst also adding an extra layer in the same vein to help ensure that every person world wide has enough to eat and do not have to suffer through a life of starvation.