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EGYPT: Salesian Missions continues Sunrise Project to support refugees and vulnerable Egyptians thanks to external donor funding

(MissionNewswire) Thanks to the support of external donors, Salesian Missions  has continued their work with the Instituto Don Bosco in Cairo to fund scholarships as part of the Sunrise Project, which launched in 2014. This skills training program assists refugees and vulnerable Egyptians in gaining the technical and life skills they need to find employment and support their families in their new country.

According to the UNHCR (The UN Refugee Agency), in January 2017, Egypt had more than 197,425 refugees and asylum seekers, up from 157,700 in 2014. The vast majority have fled wars and conflict in their homelands and have come to Egypt seeking shelter and safety. Many end up Cairo’s slums without means of making a living. Many of these refugees are women and children who have been forced into poverty with little means to provide for themselves.

Through the Sunrise Project, Salesian missionaries offer vocational and technical training to assist refugees in gaining the skills needed for employment in their new host countries, which for many is particularly challenging due to labor laws and a lack of established social and professional networks. Sudanese and Greater Horn Region refugees will make up 70 percent of those trained under the Sunrise Project while 30 percent will be vulnerable Egyptian host community individuals. Women will make up 40 percent of the participants.

This project also provides life skills training and violence prevention training to help refugees build the skills needed to succeed in the workplace and adjust in their new urban environments. One of the great successes of the project is the additional social services funded for participants. Those engaged in the training are also provided vouchers to purchase groceries and other needs from a local store. This helps to ensure that basic needs like nutrition are met for these individuals, as they work hard to meet the needs for themselves.

Participants are also given vouchers for health care. At the start of the project, local doctors and nurses would come to the Salesian center to provide these basic medical checkups, but Salesian missionaries have developed a relationship with a local hospital that now provides this medical care as well as any referrals for more specialized care if required from the initial wellness exams.

“The additional social services provided during this project have been a real success, ensuring that participants have the health screening they need as well as the nutrition in order to focus their attention on the training,” says Neill Holland, program officer at the Salesian Missions Office for International Programs. “The technical training has allowed many participants to increase their skill level and find employment, even if just in informal work settings. Many have reported back to us that they have also had an increase in income as a result of the training.”

As a result of focus groups conducted with the target population, the training courses are now more intensive three-month courses rather than spread out over nine months, as it was challenging for many participants to forgo an income during a long training period. Salesian missionaries plan to train 400 individuals this year, as well as provide 100 participants course-specific tool kits that will allow them to have the tools of their craft for employment. Graduates with viable business plans will receive managed seed funding capital grants to help them start their own businesses through equipment purchase and supplies to enable microenterprise development.

Also in Cairo, the Salesian-run Don Bosco Zeitoun has been providing programs for poor youth and their families since 1985. Youth have access to counseling, team sports, music classes, tailoring courses, rights awareness and medical referrals. Here, Salesian missionaries provide services for 500 Sudanese and Syrian refugees between the ages of 15 to 25 years old. The center also provides assistance to close to 2,000 refugees including individuals and families who access the programs each month. Salesian missionaries provide emergency relief by meeting basic needs and providing shelter, safety and medical assistance.



UNHCR – Global Focus Egypt