ZAMBIA: Salesian Missions donor provides funding for repair and resurfacing of Don Bosco Youth Center basketball court

By at July 13, 2018 | 11:04 am | Print

ZAMBIA: Salesian Missions donor provides funding for repair and resurfacing of Don Bosco Youth Center basketball court

(MissionNewswire) Close to 500 youth from a Salesian youth center, secondary school and parish in Lusaka, Zambia have a new basketball court thanks to a donation that was provided through Salesian Missions. The youth center – Don Bosco Youth Center Harare – has a basketball court onsite that was in such disrepair it become too dangerous for youth to play on due to risk of injury. With donor funding, the basketball court has been repaired and resurfaced and new equipment has been purchased.

Sports are an integral component of the Salesian programs in Lusaka. Safe recreational activities and team sports encourage physical health, foster community spirit and help keep kids off the street and deter them from joining gangs.

“Sports programs teach youth both on and off the field,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Learning and playing team sports encourages leadership skills as well as teaches youth to work as part of a team. Students also learn important social skills and have opportunities for growth and maturity. We are thankful to our donor who was able to help support youth in Zambia with the renovation of this basketball court.”

Salesian missionaries in Zambia are responding to the urgent needs of children in crisis. Over the past three decades, incomes in Zambia have fallen steadily. Poverty is widespread with 64 percent of the total population living below the poverty line with that number rising to 80 percent in rural areas. These families do not have adequate income to meet their basic food requirements.

In addition, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has taken a devastating toll on Zambia’s children. There are 1.2 million children classified as orphaned and vulnerable by UNICEF, and these children struggle to find education, basic services and hope for the future. These young innocent victims are desperate for adult support as well as the basics that all children deserve. For these children, a chance to go to school opens a world of possibilities.

Salesian missionaries also operate the City of Hope in Lusaka. The vast majority of children attending City of Hope programs are those who have been abused, live on the streets or are victims of child trafficking.

Currently, there are more than 800 students enrolled in the City of Hope’s Open Community School which serves those suffering from malnutrition, lack of education and family deprivation. Basic education is offered to youth between the ages of 9 and 17. Primary school classes make up the first four years after which students take the government’s grade seven examinations. Most City of Hope students do not have the opportunity to attend other schools because of a lack of financial means.

The City of Hope also offers a shelter that is home to at-risk girls referred through the social welfare system, the police and other institutions and organizations. Many have been orphaned and have nowhere else to go. There are currently 36 girls who live at the shelter ranging in age from 7 to 22 years. The shelter is not an orphanage but rather a safe place for girls to stay while they gain an education and make the transition either to living with family or to a more independent life. To date, more than 150 girls have received services through the City of Hope’s shelter.

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Sources:

UNICEF – Zambia

Emergencies & Salesian Missions specific news Zambia

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