INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ERADICATION OF POVERTY: Salesian Missions Focuses on Ending the Cycle of Poverty
(MissionNewswire) Salesian Missions joins the United Nations and organizations around the globe in honoring the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The day acknowledges the effort and struggle of people living in poverty, gives them an opportunity to be heard, and focuses on what the poor need to break the cycle of poverty and to live a better life.
Celebrated each year since 1987 on Oct. 17, the day was designed to honor the victims of extreme poverty, violence and hunger. The theme for this year is “Moving from humiliation and exclusion to participation: Ending poverty in all its forms.” It highlights how important it is to recognize and address the humiliation and exclusion endured by many people living in poverty. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere” recognizes that poverty results not from the lack of just one thing but from many different interrelated factors that affect the lives of people living in poverty.
“Poverty is not simply measured by inadequate income. It is manifested in restricted access to health, education and other essential services and, too often, by the denial or abuse of other fundamental human rights,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement about the day. “Let us listen to and heed the voices of people living in poverty. Let us commit to respect and defend the human rights of all people and end the humiliation and social exclusion that people living in poverty face every day by promoting their involvement in global efforts to end extreme poverty once and for all.”
Salesian missionaries around the globe focus their efforts on education and workforce development programs while providing wrap-around supports like shelter, clothing, nutrition and health services to ensure that youth are able to attend school and focus on their studies. Education has proven to be an effective means to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty, while giving the most vulnerable youth a sense of personal dignity and self-worth. Elementary and secondary education lays the foundation for early learning. There are 3,200 Salesian schools around the globe as well as more than 850 vocational, technical, professional and agricultural schools teaching youth the skills they need to enter the workforce.
“Education is a path out of poverty,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian educational programs provide youth the education and technical training skills they need to prepare for employment and have productive lives while becoming contributing adults in their communities. These programs go beyond educating. They also assist youth with making connections within industries and preparing them for the process of searching, finding and retaining employment.”
In honor of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Salesian Missions is proud to highlight Salesian educational programs that work to eradicate poverty and give youth hope for a better life.
In a country where less than half of children finish primary school, more than 50,000 children have received the encouragement and support needed to complete an elementary education through the Don Bosco Children’s Fund since its inception in 1992. The Don Bosco Children’s Fund assists poor youth between the ages of six and 15 who are either unable to go to school or have had to drop out due to poverty. Through the fund’s program, youth not only receive support to continue their education, they also receive a monthly assistance package consisting of goods and cash. Social workers ensure that youth make progress and remain in school and those with special aptitude are further supported and encouraged to pursue college coursework.
Salesian “Little Schools” are making a big difference. More than 20,000 children receive education in the basics of reading, writing and math along with daily nutrition at the Little Schools of Father Bohnen. Upon graduation and, depending on age, talents, aptitude and motivation, these youngsters are placed in high schools, vocational/technical schools or job training. Salesian missionaries also operate three vocational schools providing both academic and occupational instruction for more than 16 different careers. There are currently 200 students enrolled in the business technology program and approximately 2,400 students enrolled in the three vocational schools. These schools offer the same training and opportunities to both male and female students
The Salesian-run Bosco Boys program provides education and technical skills training to former street children in Nairobi, Kenya and is currently serving more than 600 boys and girls in primary and secondary schools and universities. The program also operates two nursery schools in the slums of Kariua and Kuwinda. Youth living in Nairobi’s slums are at-risk for exploitation, forced labor and other abuses. Few attend the later stages of school as compared to those living in Kenya’s more rural areas. The few schools serving this disadvantaged community are beyond the financial means of most families. UNICEF noted that while Kenya has free and compulsory education, youth in poverty still cannot afford to attend school resulting in close to 90 percent of children from poor households failing to complete their basic education. The Bosco Boys program provides education and workforce development opportunities. Students in the program who complete their primary education are assisted with secondary education or are advised to choose technical training in sister institutions. The secondary education is most often provided at Don Bosco Technical Secondary School, Embu, but can also be at another school close to a student’s home where he or she can be easily monitored.
The Salesian-run Don Bosco Rural Training Center in Tetere Bay in the Solomon Islands is working to bring educational and workforce development opportunities to poor youth in rural areas. Programs at the center help youth gain a basic education as well as the vocational or technical skills needed to find and retain employment. More than 200 young men and women are enrolled at the school to learn farming and other high demand trades. Courses are offered in planting and care of crops such as rice, corn, vegetables, root crops and fruit trees as well as basic fish farming and forestry. There are also courses in basic mechanics, carpentry, electrical work, computer skills and dressmaking. In addition, literacy and music classes are available in the evening.