EL SALVADOR: University Students, Faculty Benefit from Furniture Donated by Institution Recycling Network
(MissionNewswire) The Salesian-run Don Bosco University in San Salvador, El Salvador has new school and office furniture thanks to a recent donation made possible by an ongoing partnership between Salesian Missions and the Institution Recycling Network (IRN), an organization that matches surplus items with organizations and people who need them.
Close to 35 percent of El Salvador’s population lives in poverty, according to the World Bank. Youth in the country are confronted not only with poverty, but with instability, high levels of violence and inadequate access to educational opportunities. Despite ranking high for economic indicators, the need for practical education is more important than ever with 12 percent of youth ages 15-24 unemployed and 41 percent underemployed.
El Salvador is one of the most violent countries in Central America, along with Honduras and Guatemala. The murder rate in El Salvador rose more than 44 percent in the beginning months of 2014, when compared to the same time last year. Gang violence is a leading cause of violence in the country and it’s estimated that some 60,000 young people have gang affiliation. Gang involvement often offers a sense of belonging and a sense of family that counters the lack of education and employment opportunities offered in the country.
Don Bosco University is working to provide opportunities for advanced education and employment for disadvantaged youth in El Salvador. The university offers degrees in engineering, social sciences, humanities, economics, technology and aeronautics, among others. The donated furniture, shipped late last year in preparation for a new faculty building, was installed in October. The furniture will help provide students and faculty a better working and learning environment.
In addition to this donation, Salesian programs around the globe have received school and office furniture as well as workstations thanks to the partnership between Salesian Missions and IRN. In recent months, IRN has sent shipments of furniture and workstations to Salesian sites in Haiti, the Philippines, Liberia and the Dominican Republic. Additional shipments have been sent to Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay and Togo.
“IRN donations have furnished Salesian schools and development offices in Central America, South America, Africa and Asia,” explains Jessica O’Connor, property and logistics officer for Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “We plan to continue working with IRN because they are a reliable partner who is eager to assist in our mission and provide quality donations to our programs.”
Salesians are known for their education programs for youth around the globe. With countless elementary, secondary and university level educational centers as well as training and certification programs, Salesians are helping to provide a direct path out of poverty for many youth and their families. Programs rely on donations such as those provided by IRN to keep facilities functional for students and staff.
The Institution Recycling Network was started in 1999 to match surplus items that need to be recycled with organizations and people who need them. Every educational, commercial and healthcare organization in the U.S. has surplus furniture and equipment. Hundreds of millions of people living in poverty or recovering from natural disasters worldwide are in desperate need of the kinds of surplus goods these very organizations are discarding. IRN makes the match and facilitates the distribution of the surplus into the hands of the organizations and people who need it most.
“There is a clear match between Salesian Missions’ need for furniture and equipment for their worldwide projects, and the supplies of surplus to which IRN has access,” says Mark Lennon, principal of the Institution Recycling Network. “Salesian Missions has been an excellent partner.”
World Bank – El Salvador