COLOMBIA: Vatican News highlights Don Bosco City
Don Bosco City conservation efforts recently highlighted in Vatican News
(MissionNewswire) The environmental and conservation efforts of Don Bosco City in Medellín, Colombia, were recently highlighted in an article in Vatican News. The efforts are in response to Pope Francis’s 2020 Laudato Si’, which has 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 City has launched a number of planting and farming initiatives. In the article, Juan Pablo Sandoval, coordinator of projects and institutional development at Don Bosco City, explained, “On the land where the community stands, apart from the various buildings used for hospitality and the school, we have a large area available for cultivation. Thanks to government help, we have planted potatoes, tomatoes and beans. We have managed to plant 6,500 trees, half of them avocado trees, thanks to which we have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent.”
Sandoval added, “We have also started projects aimed at improving the catchment area and the micro water basins scattered throughout the mountains and, in addition to this, we have installed a water treatment plant that allows for more efficient management and less waste. We have also invested in sanitary equipment and other materials, which allow us to save money and reduce water consumption.”
Don Bosco City has also developed food security projects by planting small gardens that provide the food necessary to feed more than 300 youth every day. According to the article, Salesians have also focused on renewable energy and developed a project at Don Bosco City to heat water using solar panels to provide a substantial reduction in energy consumption and a significant improvement in the well-being of youth.
“In Don Bosco City, we have developed alliances with supervisory bodies that help us promote an ecological culture with our children and adolescents, directed towards the care and protection of our environmental heritage,” said Robinson Àlvarez, Don Bosco City’s environmental management coordinator in the article. “We have undertaken many concrete initiatives and campaigns that help our youth to develop activities in favor of our environmental heritage, and we have initiated campaigns for the care of water, the efficient use of natural resources, the protection of our fauna and flora, and the differentiated collection of waste. In this way, we have established a research center for the benefit of our youth and have enabled the creation of an ecological focus.”
Don Bosco City has saved more than 1,300 youth from a life of violence. It is estimated that close to 6,000 minors are still utilized as child soldiers with thousands more having reached their 18th birthday after years of combat. The long rehabilitation process focuses on three things youth need to learn—how to trust, to have hope for the future and to build relationships with others. Psychologists and teachers work together with youth, giving them the tools for a better future. Many leave Don Bosco City and go on to advanced education at the Salesian institutes like the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center in Cali.
The work of Salesian missionaries in Colombia is internationally recognized. Just over 34 percent of Colombians are living below the poverty line. Though Colombia is among the world’s emerging economies, more than three out of 10 Colombians still live in poor conditions. Colombia is also the world’s seventh most inequitable country.
One in five children in the country has no access to education. Many orphaned youth live in poverty and have lost their parents to natural disasters, the HIV/AIDS epidemic and other diseases, war or domestic issues. Some children remain living with a single parent, struggling to survive, and are often pulled out of school to earn income for the remaining family. Other youth live in shelters or on the streets.
By providing education, workforce development services and social programs across Colombia, Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, helps to give poor youth hope for a better life.
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Salesian Missions – Colombia
World Bank – Colombia