ANGOLA: Youth and women to gain education opportunities
Salesian missionaries launch new mission on the outskirts of Huambo
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries launched a new mission on the outskirts of Huambo, approximately 373 miles (600 km) from Angola’s capital city of Luanda. Invited by the local archbishop, three missionaries began their work in August 2021. Supported by seven volunteers, Salesians have started local pastoral care open to the more than 100,000 people who live in 15 villages within the parish.
The goal is to support local youth and women through education opportunities, particularly foundational learning and technical education in the agriculture and livestock sectors, which are main sources of business locally. Salesians also aim to open a primary school, literacy courses for about 2,000 women, and a network of oratories where more than 5,000 children from various villages can play and find a welcoming environment.
The small Salesian community, led by Father Santiago Christofersen and in close contact with the Superior of the Vice Province of Angola Father Martín Lasarte, has started manageable projects to help support the community. The first was the preparation of a small vegetable garden with an adjoining chicken farm.
Salesian missionaries began their work with street children in Angola during the 1990s when groups of children fleeing the war flowed into the capital. Today, long after the war has ended, children are still fleeing their homes for a variety of reasons. Many run away from home because of parent neglect, some as a result of abuse and others because they are thought to be sorcerers or witches who bring misfortune to their families.
In Luanda, there are eight Salesian programs including parishes, oratories and shelters. Not all the poor vulnerable youth flock to the city. In Angola’s rural areas, many people live off subsistence farming, daily wage jobs, and small businesses, and they struggle to make even a meager wage.
“The educational opportunities provided by Salesian programs can be truly life-changing for children,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Through educational programs, both youth and adults have an opportunity to learn and develop the skills to become self-sufficient, supporting their families and communities.”
Salesian missionaries in Angola also continue to rebuild infrastructure that was damaged during the civil war that lasted from 1975 to 2002. Much was destroyed during the conflict including schools, medical buildings and churches. Living within the communities in which they work, Salesian missionaries have been perfectly positioned to respond to local needs and lead projects for community betterment.
ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)
Salesian Missions – Angola
UNICEF – Angola