AUSTRIA: Salesians promote rights of young citizens
Don Bosco International highlights work of Salesians in support of young migrants and refugees
(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco International recently participated in a meeting held by the Platform of Fundamental Rights, a body of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, based in Vienna, Austria. At the meeting “Human rights in challenging times—a way forward,” Salesians held the session “Promoting the rights of young citizens of third countries in alternative assistance services.”
The session, led by Renato Cursi, executive secretary of Don Bosco International, aimed to educate about unaccompanied foreign minors and young third-country nationals who received support, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Momodou Jallow, a young man from Gambia who arrived in Italy as a minor, spoke at the meeting. He told his story and the challenges he faced once in Italy. He also highlighted the opportunities he had thanks to Salesians for Social in Naples, Italy. Jallow’s boyhood story was intense. Today, he loves soccer and studying, and he is active with volunteering. He has also recently started an internship.
Jallow’s testimony highlighted key points on issues related to welcoming children and young adult migrants, transitioning youth into adulthood, and their risks of their leaving social service supports. Jallow also gave voice to young migrants and to their experiences, and he stressed the importance of more support for youth. He continues to be engaged with his community and a voice for those in need, helping to collect and distribute food during the pandemic.
Through education and social development programming, Salesian missionaries in more than 130 countries around the globe work to ensure that all youth know their rights, are able to fully participate in their communities and have their voices heard.
Whether it’s combating child labor, assisting homeless youth or building schools where children previously had no access to education, Salesian missionaries are on the front lines ensuring youth have access to programs and services they need. Working in more than 5,500 Salesian educational institutions and youth centers around the world, missionaries educate children in some of the poorest places on the planet.
“Education is always our primary focus, but we know youth are dealing with much more than just needing access to education,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian missionaries also provide education on human rights which provides vulnerable youth a sense of personal dignity and self-worth. At Salesian schools, young children gain an education, learn about their rights and freedoms, and participate in sports and other activities—all in a safe environment that encourages learning and growth.”
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