DR CONGO: Social workers strengthen their skills
Don Bosco Ngangi Youth Center holds course on providing services for street children
(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Ngangi Youth Center held a special course for Salesian staff focused on street children in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo*. The course was organized by Father Jean-Pierre Muhima, rector of the Salesian Community in Ngangi, under the guidance of Father Aimé Lulinda, a specialist in social pedagogy and a researcher on the problems of street children.
During the course, close to 20 social workers and psychologists explored the principles used in Salesian centers for street children including reception, support, reintegration, or reunification. Their skills were strengthened on the criteria, tools, and stages of reintegration or family reunification. Fr. Lulinda also shared his analysis of the reasons why children who seek support in Salesian centers sometimes return to the streets.
Don Bosco Ngangi Youth Center has been providing social development, medical and educational services to poor youth and their families since 1988. Started first as a youth center, it expanded to provide assistance to those in the region affected by war, other violence and natural disasters. In 1997, the center added kindergarten, elementary, secondary and vocational education as well as a literacy center and medical facility. In the midst of wars, violence and poverty, the center has welcomed, educated, cared for and supported more than 26,000 children.
“Don Bosco Ngangi is one of the most diverse and comprehensive Salesian organizations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Built on the grounds of a school and sports field, the Don Bosco Ngangi Youth Center has grown to provide vocational training, refugee housing, rehabilitation for child soldiers, and programs for those needing nutritional and medical care.”
Salesian missionaries have been working in the Democratic Republic of the 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.
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. 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.
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Salesian Missions – Democratic Republic of the Congo
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.