BURUNDI: New Salesian Project Aims to Help Women Gain the Education and Skills Needed for Employment
(MissionNewswire) The Spanish Salesian-run organization Don Bosco Solidarity is launching a new project in the rural community of Rukago, in northern Burundi. The project, “Improving the Opportunities of Women in Rukago,” has been implemented at the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center of Buterere. The new initiative was launched to help women gain the skills needed to find and retain employment and is in direct response to the level of sexual violence, stigma of HIV and high maternal mortality rate faced by women in Burundi.
The project was launched in January 2017, and the Salesian teams working together are motivated to implement the initiatives so that local women can have better opportunities in the future. The project will foster the participation of young women in the field of vocational training. New courses have been developed in cooking and hotel management, as well as workshops that will help educate the community about gender equality and the benefits of quality employment for women.
Bridging the gap between the school curriculum and the practical skills needed to succeed in the labor market, the project will also offer women a chance to put the skills they have learned in the classroom into practice under the guidance of qualified workers and supervisors. Through this work in the field, students will learn new techniques and gain a hands-on application of classroom studies.
“Access to education will provide women opportunities they may never have imagined possible,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Women are the backbone of the family unit and families succeed when women are able to access quality employment. Additional workshops will also help women make better decisions in their lives.”
Don Bosco Solidarity has launched similar programs for women in countries around the globe. In El Alto, Bolivia, the organization strengthened women through education in literacy and skills training. More than 1,000 women accessed literacy training through Don Bosco Solidarity in Kara, Togo, and in Mador, Morocco, the organization created dressmaking and embroidery training for young women at risk of social exclusion.
“All women deserve a chance at a better life,” adds Fr. Hyde. “At Don Bosco Vocational Training Center, Salesian missionaries help women overcome barriers to success by providing them an education and the necessary skills to find and retain employment so they can better support themselves and help their communities.”
Burundi, located in the heart of the African Great Lakes region, has seen more than a decade of violence and conflict which has contributed to widespread poverty, according to UNICEF. Burundi ranks 184 out 188 countries on the 2015 UN Human Development Index and close to 70 percent of its residents live below the poverty line.
Children are some of the most severely affected by the country’s rampant poverty. Fifty-three percent of children under the age of 5 suffer from growth stunting caused by inadequate food, low-quality diet, poor infant feeding practices, poor household management of childhood diseases and the general decline of the country’s health system.
UNICEF – Burundi