DR CONGO: VIA Don Bosco Helps Educate and Support 1,000 Congolese Youth Each Year
(MissionNewswire) Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was the first partner country of the Belgian Salesian organization Via Don Bosco. The organization is active in the field of education and training and supports the employment of young graduates from local Salesian professional schools. More than 70 percent of youth between the ages of 15 and 24 in DRC do not have a job. They are unable to find work and are turning to the black market and petty criminal behavior to help support themselves.
In addition, due to lack of education and often accompanied by frustration and low self-esteem, many young people who do have jobs struggle with communicating any issues they have in the workplace. They don’t possess the interpersonal and social skills to keep their jobs and often turn to aggressive behavior when things don’t go their way. Through training programs and social skills workshops, VIA Don Bosco is supporting more than 1,000 young Congolese students each year, providing a combination of a stable environment and adequate training that gives them the opportunity to become calm and feel appreciated. Their Salesian education allows them to acquire a set of values and skills to make them better integrated into society.
VIA Don Bosco is also working to make relationships within the employment sectors to help students transition from the classroom into the workplace. The Salesian organization has set up partnerships with local businesses so students can take part in internships and get a feel for the different companies and their internal operations. Thanks to these partnerships, new agriculture and carpentry courses have also been modified in such a way as to be more responsive to the demands of the labor market.
Independent evaluations of the program show that young people from Salesian schools are considered honest, reliable tolerant, and communicative. It’s been noted that students have the right attitude and work ethic coupled with solid technical knowledge, which impresses employers. Building off this work, VIA Don Bosco started a school business where students learn about running a business while generating profits for the school itself, which improves its services.
“All youth deserve a second chance in life and to feel safe and be valued members of their community,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Students supported by VIA Don Bosco have a real opportunity to gain an education, connect with their peers, and gain the work and social skills needed for long-term employment.”
DRC has been plagued by intense civil war and internal conflict since the outbreak of fighting in 1998. As a result, there have been close to 5.4 million deaths, according to the International Rescue Committee. Most deaths resulted from non-violent causes such as malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition, all typically preventable under normal circumstances but often fatal in times of conflict. Close to 1.5 million people have been internally displaced or have become refugees in neighboring countries after having fled the country to escape the continued violence.
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.