ANGOLA: New Home For Boys Gives Hope to Street Children, Chance to Escape the Cycle of Poverty
(MissionNewswire) This fall, St. Kizito Hous – new Salesian-run home for street boys in Luanda, Angola – was opened. This new house is the result of a joint international cooperation between the Salesians, International Voluntary Service for Development volunteers and public institutions.
In Angola, 68 percent of the population lives in poverty – with 26 percent living in extreme poverty, according to United Nations Development Program statistics. Further, more than one in 10 children under the age of 14 has lost one or both parents and 43,000 are separated from their families. Nearly a third of these youth are working, according to UNICEF. Child trafficking is also an emerging problem in the country.
The Salesians have long been providing services to help the youth of Angola get off the streets, gain access to education and nutrition and find a way out of poverty. In several Salesian-run programs in Angola youth find shelter, nutrition, education – and hope.
According to UNICEF, Angola has a 67 percent illiteracy rate, making the educational opportunities provided by Salesian programs truly life changing. Through Salesian programs, both youth and adults have access to schools and educational programs in nine different communities. Classes range from simple lessons in reading and writing for adults in refugee camps to shelter and education for street children.
“At-risk children, teenagers and young adults across Angola are achieving in the classroom,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Mission – the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “They participate in programs that promote social inclusion, emotional development and access to education.”
The new St. Kizito house which functions as a day and night shelter is welcoming, colorful and offers a clean environment for the boys who are accustomed to life on the streets. The house has a large playground at the back, ideal for sporting activities, and also boasts a new plumbing system with running water, bathroom facilities and a well-equipped kitchen.
Currently, St. Kizito houses 20 boys between the ages of 10 and 15. Accepting refuge in the house is one of the first steps on the difficult path from life on the streets to education and the recovery of personal dignity often lost on the streets of Luanda. The new house is named after St. Kizito, a Ugandan, who died a martyr at 14 years of age. He served as the inspiration for the boys and Father Roberto Musante when coming up with the motto of the house, “We give a helping hand so that no-one goes back.”
“Our programs for street youth do more than just provide shelter and basic needs,” says Fr. Hyde. “Programs like St. Kizito house provide a foundation for youth to have a stable nurturing environment so they can access education and find a way out of poverty.”
Salesian Missions – Angola
UNICEF – Angola Statistics