DR CONGO: Students graduate with employable skills
Youth were once living on the street with no access to shelter or education
(MissionNewswire) The Tuwe Wafundi School of Trades, part of the Don Bosco Center in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo*, provides education to homeless youth ages 17-22. These youth were once living on the street with no access to shelter or education. Salesians estimate upward of 6,000 youth, more than 1,000 of whom are girls, are homeless in the city. At the Salesian center, they access 13 months of free vocational training in carpentry, auto mechanics, assembly welding and masonry.
Typically, each year 100 students are admitted. More than a year ago, the class size expanded to 150 students. They were youth who had little hope for the future. When they arrived at the Don Bosco Center, they underwent two months of literacy or remedial education, eight months of practical training in a trade, and then three months of work experience with craftspeople on a construction site, in a workshop, or in a small business.
Of the 150 who started their education, 116 received their professional certificates on March 5. Many of the graduates are already working, given jobs with the companies where they interned. Of the graduates, 24 young women participated in the program and 23 completed and passed. One young woman from the masonry program received the highest grades in the entire school.
“The Don Bosco Center provides education for youth who have no where else to turn,” said Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Gaining an education in a trade allows students to access classroom education and then put their skills into practice in a real working environment. If students do a good job at their internship, many are hired before they even graduate. The goal is to give youth access to skills that ensure long-term stable employment.”
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.