CHILE: New Initiative Provides Advanced Training at Salesian Agriculture Schools Around the Globe
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries, through the Don Bosco Solidarity Circuit initiative, have begun providing training and technical assistance to Salesian agriculture schools around the globe. The initiative is made possible through the collaboration of the Salesian-run organizations of Plaza Argentina Association and Missionary Museum of Colle Don Bosco, along with the help of wine makers from Monferrato, located in region of Piedmont in Northern Italy. The aim of the project is to provide additional resources and advanced training to help increase the capacity and knowledge of Salesian educators in order to better prepare students for the workforce.
The project launched providing training and assistance at the Salesian Agricultural School in Linares, Chile. The school has an important pig breeding unit that provides professional courses for the production of Piedmontese-type sausages. The courses are led by professionals Marco Violi and his wife Olivana. Linares is predominantly an agricultural area of the country and depends heavily on farming to sustain its economy. Many of the area families living in the area suffer from the effects of devastating poverty.
The project will provide Salesian teachers and young farmers with a basic education as well as advanced studies in the latest agricultural practices and modern technologies while moving toward efficiency in farming by exploring and testing new techniques in agriculture, horticulture, floriculture and animal husbandry. Salesian agricultural schools provide both classroom education and hands-on agriculture and livestock training on a working farm on the school campus. With a long history of providing agricultural education, missionaries currently operate more than 90 agriculture schools around the world.
“Many of our students at Salesian agriculture schools are the children of poor farmers,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “We want to provide youth with new farming knowledge and skills so they can make a good life for themselves while helping to support their families and community.”
Salesian schools, social development services and workforce development programs throughout Chile are helping to break the cycle of poverty while giving many hope for a more positive and productive future. According to the World Bank, although the economy in Chile is one of the more stable and prosperous in Latin America, a little more than 5 percent of the population lives on just $2 a day. The country suffers from high economic inequality which is particularly evident in access to educational opportunities.
Salesian agricultural, vocational and technical schools in Chile cater to students who have dropped out of school and are seeking a second chance. In many programs, students complete their education while engaging in internships with local employers increasing their hands-on work experience and chance of gaining livable wage employment after their studies are completed.
“Salesian missionaries working in Chile focus their efforts on providing education and social programs to poor and at-risk youth,” adds Fr. Hyde. “At Salesian schools, universities and youth centers throughout the country, youth can access an education as well as the skills and resources necessary to find stable employment and improve their standard of living.”
World Bank – Chile