DR CONGO: Young ex-combatants receive skills training
Don Bosco Ngangi Center provides education and life skills training for ex-combatants
(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Ngangi Center, located in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, received a visit from Fondong Julius, from the office of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). The purpose of the visit was to assess the progress of young ex-combatants who are receiving skills training before returning to their villages.
Don Bosco Ngangi is working to transform the lives of youth who are at high risk of becoming victims of communal violence. In addition to the life skills and technical and vocational skills training youth receive, Don Bosco Ngangi also provides a suitable environment for forming good Christians and honest, upright citizens.
In his address to the young ex-combatants who were attending vocational training courses, Julius said, “Peace through reconciliation is first and foremost a spiritual matter. This faith-promoting center must help you to return to your inner-self to reconcile with yourself, with your family and with your community. Because when you return to your respective villages, you will be ambassadors of peace and apostles of reconciliation.”
Since the beginning of August, 74 young ex-combatants and young girls and women who were collateral victims of community violence have been trained to become plumbers, bricklayers, hairdressers and beauticians. The goal is to reduce violence in the community and give young men a chance at a prosperous future through legitimate means so that they do not join armed groups to earn a living. Young girls and women are given a second chance at life after being victims of violence.
At the end of the three months of training, these students will be citizens, craftsmen of reconciliation, peace and development. In speaking directly to the students who have left behind a life of violence, Julius said, “You are all still young, you cannot lead a life of arms, armed conflict or violence.”
Father Jean-Pierre Muhima, director of the Don Bosco Ngangi, thanked Julius not only for acknowledging the merits of the Salesians of Don Bosco in supervising young people, but also for the contribution to the restoration of social peace in the war-torn Kivu region.
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.
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.
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Salesian Missions – Democratic Republic of the Congo
UNICEF – DR Congo