BURKINA FASO: Salesian missionaries providing services to remote villages able to purchase off-road vehicle for transport thanks to Salesian Missions donor funding
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries working within Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, and surrounding communities received funding from Salesian Missions donors to purchase a new off-road vehicle. Salesian missionaries in this remote land-locked country in West Africa serve a population from many communities. Some outlying villages are a great distance away and most roads are unpaved making it hard to provide supplies and pastoral activities. An off-road vehicle enables Salesian missionaries to safely transport youth to schools and facilities throughout the province.
Salesian missionaries have been working in Burkina Faso since March 1993 when they began work in Bobo-Dioulasso, the second largest city in the country. They settled in a neighborhood known as Ouezzin which is an expanding area of the city with nearby areas crossed by several rivers. On those riverbanks crops are cultivated then sold in the city and exported to Ouagadougou.
Bobo-Dioulasso’s many surrounding villages are filled with youth and adults who head to the city in search of better living conditions. The area also has many children who have been abandoned by their families or sent into the city alone in the hope of a better future resulting in a large population of children living in the streets. Most come from rural areas where they have left school or have not even had a chance to start.
Salesian missionaries living and working in the area have created programs that address the child welfare needs of youth living on the streets. A Salesian home accommodates 30 children who are offered an education, a place to sleep, food and medical care. If possible, they are assisted in reuniting with their families.
Recently, several Salesian organizations in Spain have joined together to help create a Salesian-run Women’s Promotion Center in Kouba, an area within Ouagadougou. The center will be operated by the Salesian Daughters of Mary Help of Christians as part of a vast socio-educational project. Work started in December 2017 and should be completed within 10 months.
This is the second construction phase of the large socio-educational, cultural and sporting complex for children and older youth, especially girls, that the Salesian sisters have planned for the next five to 10 years. The complete project will include a nursery school, primary and secondary schools, a shelter for girls with limited resources and an oratory open to the neighborhood that includes sports facilities and educational workshops of various kinds. The new Women’s Center will offer apprenticeships and foster literacy.
“Education is always our primary focus,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “But we know that youth in Burkina Faso are dealing with much more than just lacking access to education. Salesian programs are tailored to meet the needs of youth in the communities they serve. Having this new vehicle, thanks to our donors, ensures that missionaries are able to travel to meet families in remote villages and transport youth as needed.”
Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in Africa, ranking 185 out of 188 countries on the Human Development Index 2016. According to the World Bank, more than 46 percent of the country’s population lives in poverty on less than USD 1.25 per day. Burkina Faso has suffered from several serious droughts that have driven up food prices affecting the country’s food supply and causing malnutrition among the poorest residents and children. Up until the 1980s, the country also dealt with devastating military coups.