DR CONGO: Salesian oratory serving more than 800 youth develops music and sports programming
(MissionNewswire) The Salesian oratory, Michele Rua, located in Masina, a municipality in the capital city of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has launched a new music and sports program. Kinshasa has nearly 11 million inhabitants with many children and older youth in need of education and support. Youth are often living on the streets or their families are too poor to pay for school. They have limited means of advancing in life and breaking the cycle of poverty.
Salesian missionaries are trying to address these needs through their six centers within Kinshasa. The Michele Rua oratory has become a place of refuge and support for nearly 800 boys and girls aged 7 to 15 years in the densely-populated, working-class neighborhood of Masina which is currently experiencing socio-economic difficulties. Given the needs in the community, Salesian missionaries anticipate that the number of youth participating in their programs will rise.
Missionaries are in the process of developing both music and sports programs. The goal is to offer these programs to provide recreation opportunities with peers and to teach additional skills outside of a formal educational setting. In order to set up the programs effectively, Salesian missionaries are currently working to raise funding and seek donations to provide the necessary equipment like musical instruments, sports uniforms, whistles, soccer balls, basketballs and handballs. Once the equipment is secured, the programs will be fully launched within the oratory.
Sports are an integral component of Salesian programs. Safe recreational activities and team sports encourage physical health, foster community spirit and help keep kids off the street and deter them from joining gangs.
“Sports programs teach youth both on and off the field,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Learning and playing team sports encourages leadership skills as well as teaches youth to work as part of a team. Students also learn important social skills and have opportunities for growth and maturity.”
Despite its vast material wealth, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has long been a very poor nation. Half of the country’s population lives below the poverty line, living on less than $1 a day, especially those in rural communities. Because of ongoing strife and violence within the country, more than 8.5 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, a figure that’s expected to increase to 13.1 million in 2018. More than 4.1 million Congolese are now displaced, with 620,000 seeking refuge in neighboring countries. More than 7.5 million people do not have enough food to eat.
Salesian missionaries have been working in the Democratic Republic of Congo for more than 100 years ensuring that the most vulnerable children are not forgotten. Salesian primary and secondary schools and programs lay the foundation for early learning while Salesian trade, vocational and agricultural programs offer many youth the opportunity for a stable and productive future.
ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)
UNICEF – DR Congo
Any goods, services or funds provided by Salesian Missions to programs located in this country were administered in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.