CAMEROON: Salesian missionaries launch new audiovisual editing course and workforce development program
(MissionNewswire) The Don Bosco Center in Yaoundé, Cameroon, offers a wide variety of programs and services to meet the needs of poor youth and their families in the region. The area includes Mimboman, which is a semi-residential working-class neighborhood of about 20,000 inhabitants on the outskirts of Yaoundé. Salesian missionaries have been working there since 1992.
In the city of Yaoundé and the outlying areas of Mimboman, many youth are unemployed and must settle for the little work they can find in the highly-developed informal economy, especially in the commercial sector. For many families, this income only helps pay for their mere survival, which makes it difficult to make school a priority.
Salesian missionaries operate the Mary Help of Christians parish, a youth-oratory center and an educational complex, which includes a secondary school and a vocational training center. Recently, Salesian missionaries launched a new project to train young media professionals.
This project offers a nine-month audiovisual editing course and hosts about 20 youth per class. When they graduate, students will receive a certificate issued by the Don Bosco Center and a Diploma of Professional Qualification (DPQ) issued by the state. Salesian missionaries are looking to improve the course if they can find the funding to purchase two new MAC editing desks.
In addition to this new course, Salesian missionaries have also launched a new workforce development program inside the center, which helps youth make the transition from school to work. Students receive help in finding both internships and employment in the private sector. Graduates’ progress is also tracked after they enter the workforce to ensure that they are doing well.
“Skills training programs such as this help ensure youth have an opportunity to gain an education and graduate with employable skills,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Because Salesian missionaries live in the communities in which they work, they are knowledgeable of market conditions and what employment sectors are the most advantageous for employment. Training programs are created in these areas to help youth have a smooth school to work transition.”
Forty percent of Cameroon’s 23.7 million people live below the poverty line and human development indicators remain low, according to the World Food Programme. Poverty is at the highest concentration in the Far North, North, Adamaoua and East regions. In northern regions, people are often affected by natural disasters and below-average harvests which contribute to a continuing cycle of poverty and hunger. The World Food Programme has noted that the number of people facing food insecurity in Cameroon is estimated at 3.9 million, including 211,000 severely food insecure.
Salesian missionaries in Cameroon provide education and social development services to poor youth so they are able to gain the training needed to find and retain long-term employment. They, in turn, are then able to give back to their families and communities.
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