Prepared Exclusively for Special Friends of Salesian Missions
A Written Testimony Of How You Bring God-Saving Grace To A Troubled World
Don Bosco School in Goma Becomes An Emergency Home for Refugees As war and violence erupted in the Democratic Republic of Congo, thousands of families were forced to flee their homes, fearing for their safety and their lives. Within hours, the Don Bosco Educational Center Ngangi of Goma was transformed into a refugee center for those who had nowhere else to turn. Salesian missionaries and volunteers counted a total of 2,578 adults – mostly mothers – plus an additional 4,962 children. “The refugees were sheltered in the big hall, in the classrooms, in tents on the basketball court and in all available spaces,” explained Fr. Piero Gavioli, the director of the Center. Those who made it safely to the Center were the fortunate ones. Sadly, stray bullets claimed the lives of two people close to the Salesians, including the secretary of the Christian community and
the child of a teacher at the Center. In one day alone, dozens of children were gravely wounded from gunshots and mortar blasts. This recent crisis is just one example of how the Salesians go above and beyond their everyday service in order to provide victims with emergency help whenever it is needed. In Goma, the Salesians worked around the clock for three weeks to ensure that everyone under their roof received proper care and support. The most needy
included 316 malnourished children and 20 newborn babies. Conditions at the Don Bosco Center were understandably miserable – families cramped into tight spaces, a limited supply of food and water, and a high level of anxiety as to whether or not they could ever return to their homes. But throughout the terrifying ordeal, the Salesians were able to maintain an element of calm fueled by loving support, strong faith, and hope that peace would prevail. While the situation in Goma remains unstable, residents now know they can rely on the Salesians – backed by caring friends like you – to guide them through their darkest hours. Please visit the video link below to learn more about our work in the Democratic Republic of Congo: www.salesianmissions.org/Congo
This Month’s Child
Name: Age: Home:
Smita 13 Years Old Mumbai, India
For most of her young life, Smita had been held captive in an abusive household with a mentally ill mother. Unable to bear the cruelty any longer, the petite girl escaped and began living on the streets. That’s when she met the outreach staff from Don Bosco Balprafulta. But her path to freedom and a better life would take another year. The city’s Child Welfare Committee decided to return Smita to the care of her mother, with promises that the child would receive better treatment. But the Salesians who got to know Smita remained concerned
about her wellbeing and safety. So, they scheduled regular visits to the girl’s home, where they discovered unusual behavior. As it turns out, Smita had not been allowed to step outside her house for 10 months. Determined to rescue the little girl, the Salesians engaged local police, neighbors and relatives. It was a long and challenging ordeal, but eventually the mother was checked into a hospital and Smita was sent to live with her grandmother. Today, Smita is a vibrant and happy child – grateful for her freedom and thankful to the caring Salesians who wouldn’t give up on her.
This Month’s Call For Prayer Please pray for the safety and wellbeing of all children -- particularly those most vulnerable to hunger, disease, violence and abuse. Your thoughts and prayers will give them the strength to overcome adversity and the hope that better days lie ahead.
In Peru.. Ninety people who were too poor to afford medical care are now feeling much better thanks to a recent Health Campaign organized by the Salesians in Peru. The campaign recruits caring doctors who are willing to volunteer their efforts in order to treat painful ailments that require delicate surgery – such as removing tumors and repairing hernias. This year’s Health Campaign targeted remote settlements in the Peruvian Amazonian forest and other areas typically without any access to healthcare. It also reached needy residents in Pisco who are also struggling to recover from a catastrophic earthquake five years ago. The Salesian Health Campaign continues to add doctors, thus allowing many more children and adults to be relieved of their pain and suffering. It is a cooperative effort that’s making a big difference in every life it touches.
The El Sufragio School in Medellin, Colombia, was recently honored by city officials for its outstanding educational quality. At a ceremony held in the Medellin Metropolitan Theatre, the school accepted two awards in the categories of “Significant Experience” and “Educational Progress.” In addition, the school received a total of $28,000 in prize money so it can continue the programs for which they were recognized. The first award celebrated a school project entitled “Philosophy with Feeling” while the second honor credited El Sufragio with being the “best private educational institution for improving academic and educational processes.” The success of the El Sufragio School is a wonderful example of how your gifts to the Salesians are providing impressive results. Please visit the video link below to learn more about our work in Colombia: www.salesianmissions.org/Colombia
In Haiti... Three years after the devastating earthquake in January 2010, there are signs of hope despite many challenges that still lie ahead on the path toward recovery. On a positive note, more than 3 million children have returned to school, including 20,000 students at Salesian locations. Eleven million cubic meters of rubble have been removed. One million people have left camps for the displaced. And soon, 600,000 people will have access to electricity.
But the immense suffering continues, and recent catastrophes have made the situation even worse. An urgent food and health crisis has arisen in the wake of a severe drought followed by devastating cyclones Isaac and Sandy. The Salesians – and all the children, families and communities we serve – are determined to push forward … and are hopeful that better days lie ahead.
Missionary of the Month: Fr. Arthur Lorini In December, Fr. Arthur Lorini accepted the Gold Medal of Civic Merit at Milan City Hall in Italy. It was a fitting tribute to the 73-year-old Salesian priest who has devoted his life to helping the poor and needy. Early in his vocation, Fr. Lorini developed an innovative program that has enabled 30,000 youngsters to travel during their school vacations in order to help other children
in forgotten and impoverished places around the world. Then in 1989, Fr. Lorini started what is now known as the “Distance Adoptions Project” to connect caring and generous friends like you with impoverished children and families in desperate need of food and other essentials. In reflecting on the impact of his program, Fr. Lorini says with great satisfaction, “Every year I visit these kids and find them
increasingly healthy, serene and smiling, just because they have a guaranteed meal every day.”
You Are Their Savior! Dear Friend, You are responsible for the wellbeing and bright futures for so many poor and needy children and families. Without caring people like you by our side, we wouldn’t have the ability to open our doors to refugees fleeing from violence and war. We couldn’t look after abused and neglected children like Smita. And we wouldn’t have the
resources to open and operate schools that give suffering youngsters a path out of poverty. Your acts of kindness go a long way – and it’s with great satisfaction and appreciation that I share the stories featured in each issue of the World Bulletin and on our website at: www.salesianmissions.org Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you do to ease pain
and suffering in so many neglected and forgotten places around the world. You truly are a savior to so many! God bless you for your continued compassion and generosity.
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