EAST TIMOR: Vulnerable youth are benefiting from Salesian agriculture and technical skills training
(MissionNewswire) The Don Bosco Agricultural School is educating 1,000 students from elementary to senior secondary grades in the Lospalos district of East Timor. Agriculture education plays an important role in promoting better care of livestock and increasing the yield from crops. The school is aiming to become more self-sufficient by increasing farm production of corn, animal feed, varied horticulture and coconut oil, along with improved livestock intake.
School buildings, however, are in urgent need of renovations. Some are more than 50 years old and the roofs and ceilings need replacement. In the past year work has been done on upgrading the dormitories, but there is still work to be done in the bathrooms. Donations have been directed to the running costs of the school, namely for student fees, scholarships and transport costs, as well as vehicle maintenance. The agricultural program is helping to produce goods on the farm that are consumed in the boarding house.
In Maliana, the Don Bosco Co-educational Technical School, with the generous support of the Montagner Zembruzuski Family Foundation, built a new basketball court for the students for socio-sports education and replaced the roof on the boys’ dormitory. In addition, a training seminar was held for the electrical trade teachers and participants from the Don Bosco schools in Comoro and Fatumaca. The training helped teachers access the most up-to-date information in the field in order to pass that knowledge onto their students.
At the Don Bosco Training Center in Comoro, short-term courses in motor mechanics, building, electrical wiring and IT are provided. Students are able to access on-the-job training. In the last year, students participated in fencing 200 meters around the workshops. Other work experience projects included manufacturing 52 study tables and repairing 20 existing tables and 22 chairs.
“Technical education is important to ensure youth have the skills needed to find and retain long-term stable employment,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Students who are able to access education and find work are able to become contributing members of their communities, helping to support their families as well as community development.”
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.
Australian Salesian Mission Overseas Aid Fund Annual Report 2018
Salesian Missions – East Timor
World Bank – East Timor/Timor-Leste