CAMBODIA: New Salesian Programs, Facilities Open
(MissionNewswire) Late fall saw the addition of several new programs and facilities at Salesian sites in Cambodia. The Salesians have a long history of teaching job skills in Cambodia where one out of every three citizens live below the poverty line and barely survive on less than one dollar a day. According to UNICEF, 40 percent of children are chronically malnourished and upwards of 20,000 children work the streets of Phnom Penh alone. In addition, 670,000 children in the country are orphans.
“Salesian programs help to provide a stable environment and path out of poverty for many youth,” says Father Albeiro Rodas, who is in charge of Don Bosco Vocational Center Kep. “Our new programs and facilities allow for additional youth to have access to more diverse educational programs that provide them hope for a better future.”
Female students at Don Bosco Vocational Center Kep have a new residence hall. The opening of Salesians of Piet de Visser House, also known as the Banteay Srei Women’s Hostel, will provide residence for female students and teachers.
Further, Don Bosco Technical Center has a new building that will house studies in tailoring, electrical skills and vehicle maintenance service. The new building was named Sok San Site (Site of Peace), honoring the Salesians, teachers and students who led the Don Bosco Technical School inside the Khmer Sok San Site Refugee Camp in Thailand during the war in the 1980s-1990s.
In addition, the Salesians received approval for construction of a new art section and the installation of audiovisual studios in the social communication section. The Salesian program will eventually teach art skills such as painting, sculpture, drawing, design, music, dance and drama for youth from the regions of Kep, Kampot and Takeo.
Inside the new building for social communication, the audiovisual studios will serve to train young people in the use of media and the production of educational and social audiovisual production. Youth will participate through short courses in art and audiovisual skills, while young people from poor rural areas of the region will have the opportunity to engage in a two year technical course.
Lastly, the Don Bosco Service Center offers services to the Kep Province communities, especially for youth and visitors to the region. This Service Center contributes to the sustainability of the educational center and to the promotion of other Don Bosco projects.
Currently, the Don Bosco Service Center provides photocopy and photography services, an Internet café, computer school, laundry facility and barber shop for boys.
In 1993, at the invitation of the government of Cambodia, the technical School in Phnom Penh was established to republish, translate, and write books and educational documents that were destroyed during the Khmer Rouge regime. It contained the only working printing press in the country—and served as a model of hope through education.
“As more and more programs for youth are developed in Cambodia, donations are needed to help make the programs and facilities fully operational,” explains Fr. Rodas. “We are still in need of furniture for both our male and female residences, audiovisual and other radio equipment for our radio station as well as updated water and electrical systems at the facility.”
For more information, go to www.donboscokep.org.
Salesian Missions – Work in Cambodia
UNICEF – Cambodia