EAST TIMOR: Salesian missionaries provide technology and agriculture training to give youth the skills to find employment
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries provide a range of educational and social development services at the Salesian complex Don Bosco Fatumaca. Poor youth are able to access programs including health services, nutrition, education and general support services. The school also offers room and board for students who need on-campus housing.
Don Bosco Technical School provides vocational education that helps youth gain an education and prepare for the future. More than 250 students, 11 percent of whom are girls, attend the school and take three-year courses in carpentry, mechanics and electronics. Each year there are more than 400 applications for 84 student spots. Final year students are required to design and produce a product that embraces much of what they have learned over the previous three years.
A course in motherboard replacement and reprogramming for televisions was recently provided. The students were able to repair the television sets of local people in the community. This new technology training will prepare the students for future job opportunities.
“Salesian programs are so successful in part because they remain flexible and diversified to meet of the needs of their students,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Being an integral part of the communities in which they work, Salesian missionaries are aware of local needs first-hand and are then able to develop programs to directly address those needs.”
Salesian missionaries are also working in village of Fuiloro, where they operate the Don Bosco Agricultural College. With more than 75 percent of the population deriving its livelihood from farming, Don Bosco Agricultural College plays an important role in promoting better care of livestock and increasing the yield from crops.
With an increase in applications, enrollment now exceed 200. The college aims to be more self-sustainable by increasing farm production of corn, animal feed, varied horticulture, coconut oil and improved livestock intake. A new dormitory has also been completed with new beds, lockers and furniture for students who live on the school’s campus.
East Timor is home to 1.1 million people and according to the Human Development Index, the country ranked 132 out of 189 for life expectancy, access to education and standard of living in 2018. The World Bank estimates that East Timor has close to 49 percent of its population living in poverty with over one-third of the population regularly experiencing food shortages. In addition, close to 50 percent of the population is illiterate.
Salesian missionaries in East Timor have been providing programs to help residents recover and rebuild in the wake of a devastating civil war in the country that claimed countless lives, decimated entire communities and resulted in living conditions that are among the worst in the world. Now that the violence has subsided, efforts are being focused on helping the poor, restoring hope and providing new opportunities for the future.
Australian Salesian Mission Overseas Aid Fund Annual Report 2018
Photo courtesy of Australian Salesian Mission Overseas Aid Fund Annual Report 2018
Salesian Missions – East Timor
World Bank – East Timor/Timor-Leste