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CAMBODIA: Students green their campus

Don Bosco Hotel School students take part in clean-up efforts


(MissionNewswire) Many Salesian schools around the globe are working to add environmentally friendly practices and curriculum in response to Pope Francis’ 2020 Laudato Si’, which had as its theme “Good Christians and Upright Citizens.” Pope Francis underlined the importance of education and training that will help youth shape a lifestyle and foster environmental responsibility.

Don Bosco Hotel School in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, is one of the schools striving to keep its campus green. Students are involved in cleaning up the grounds, washing down sidewalks and keeping the school litter free.

“This is one of many examples of students getting involved in cleaning up their surroundings,” said Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “From tree planting and organic gardens to clean up days and courses on environmentally sustainable practices, Salesians around the globe are helping students understand the importance of protecting the environment.”

Don Bosco Hotel School is focused on helping students gain the skills needed for employment in the hospitality industry. The school also runs a hotel that is open to the public. The hotel earns revenue to support Salesian programs and students while allowing students to gain real-work experience.

“Students attending the Don Bosco Hotel School have an opportunity to gain the skills needed for a work in an employment sector that is always hiring,” added Fr. Ploch. “While students gain the skills they need, projects like this also ensure Salesian programs have the funding needed to stay in operation and meet the needs of poor youth in the community who might not otherwise be able to afford an education.”

Don Bosco Hotel School is part of the broader Don Bosco Technical School and is one of six technical schools supported by the Don Bosco Foundation in Cambodia. The foundation provides technical skills training for youth between 16 and 22 who have completed at least the 8th grade. The technical schools are located in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Kep, Battambang and Poipet, and provide courses in automotive, industrial mechanics, electricity and electronics, social communication, secretarial and office administration, tailoring, hospitality, welding, agriculture, information technology, and language and arts communication.

According to the World Bank, poverty continues to fall in Cambodia. In 2020, the poverty rate was close to 17.8% compared to 47.8% in 2007. About 90% of the poor live in the countryside. While Cambodia achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving poverty in 2009, the vast majority of families who escaped poverty were only able to do so by a small margin. Around 4.5 million people remain near-poor, vulnerable to falling back into poverty when exposed to economic and other external challenges. Most of those escaping poverty are earning their living in non-farming activities. The national school dropout rate increased in 2019-20, reversing years of declining trends. About 14% of poor children ages 6 to 17 dropped out in early 2022.



Photo courtesy of Don Bosco Green Alliance

Don Bosco Green Alliance – Green Campus at Don Bosco Hotel School, Cambodia

Don Bosco Technical School

Salesian Missions – Cambodia

World Bank – Cambodia

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