ETHIOPIA: Salesian Technical Education in Graphic and Typographic Arts Only Professional Program of Its Kind in the Country
(MissionNewswire) The Don Bosco Technical and Professional Training at Mekanissa, near the capital city of Addis Ababa, offers a training program in graphic and typographic arts. The project, known as “Print your future”, is already resulting in an increase of the professionalism of Salesian students into the workforce and is helping to promote the Salesian program as a real educational opportunity for older youth.
The graphic and printing industry is very important and growing in the Ethiopian labor market, but at present there is no institution in the whole country that offers training for local workers in the field. The Salesian program is the first graphic and typographic arts to be offered in Ethiopia and is a showpiece of the Salesian presence in the capital.
The program was launched in 2014, and is the result of collaboration among Salesian missionaries, volunteers with the International Volunteers for Development (VIS), the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Italian Episcopal Conference, and the Ministry of Education of Ethiopia. The program was also able to open a new laboratory for students to practice their hands-on skills in graphic and typographic arts in 2015.
Currently, the program offers night classes for students, alternating between theory and practical sessions. These sessions are aimed mainly at workers and those employed in the printing industry, to help them upgrade their skills and improve their chances of new employment and increasing their skill level in current jobs. The courses in graphic and typographic arts are generally held by local experts, but there are also special lectures by experts from the renowned Italian technical schools of San Zeno in Verona and San Marco in Mestre, both in the Salesian Province of North-East Italy (INE).
Salesian missionaries have a long history of providing educational and supportive services to poor youth inn Ethiopia. Missionaries operate six primary schools, three secondary schools and six vocational training centers for older youth. At all these Salesian-run educational facilities, youth are able to gain an education while having access to supportive services, including family sponsorship and school feeding programs, that provide care for them and their families all with the goal of keeping youth in school as long as possible.
“Education is always our primary focus,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “We know youth in Ethiopia are dealing with much more than just having access to education. Salesian programs are tailored to meet the needs of the youth in the communities they serve. Homeless and malnourished youth are simply not able to focus effectively on their studies while they struggle to meet their basic needs. Our services provide food and shelter so youth are able to focus on the education provided.”
Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world with more than 38 percent of its population living in poverty, according to Feed the Future. Close to 85 percent of the country’s workforce is employed in agriculture but frequent droughts severely affect the agricultural economy leaving more than 12 million people chronically, or at least periodically, food insecure. In addition, more than two-thirds of the population is illiterate.
The country has 4 million orphans which account for nearly 12 percent of all children, and according to UNICEF, more than half a million of these were orphaned as a result of the HIV/AIDS crisis that has affected the country. Thousands more children run away each year seeking a better life on the streets.
UNICEF – Ethiopia