BURUNDI: Vocational training project launched in 2017 has trained 40 young women in hotel and restaurant industries
(MissionNewswire) Launched in January 2017 by the Spanish Salesian-run organization, Don Bosco Solidarity, the “Improving the Opportunities for Women in Rukago” project has been making an impact on women in the rural Rukago community of Burundi. The project was implemented at the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center of Buterere to help women gain the skills needed to find and retain employment. It was launched in direct response to the high incidence of sexual violence, the stigma of HIV and the high maternal mortality rate faced by women in Burundi.
To date, more than 40 young young women have received quality training in the hotel and restaurant employment sectors. In addition, an employment office was created to assist students with resumes, interviewing and connecting with employers who are hiring. The project offers courses in cooking and hotel management as well as workshops that help educate the community about gender equality and the benefits of quality employment for women.
Bridging the gap between classroom curriculum and the practical skills needed to succeed in the labor market, the project offers women a chance to put the skills they have learned into practice under the guidance of qualified workers and supervisors. Through this work in the field, students learn new techniques and gain a hands-on application of classroom studies.
Thanks to Don Bosco Solidarity, the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center has been provided with all the equipment and materials necessary for practical lessons. A collaboration between various public and private organizations in the area has helped to renovate various rooms and provide refrigerators, kitchen utensils, food and other related goods.
“Access to education will provide women opportunities they may never have imagined possible,” says Father Mark Hyde, 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 supports women through literacy education and skills training programs. In Kara, Togo, more than 1,000 women have accessed literacy training through Don Bosco Solidarity and in Mador, Morocco, dressmaking and embroidery training programs for young women at risk of social exclusion have been created by the organization.
“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.
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UNICEF – Burundi