FIJI: Salesian missionaries build a new community center in Suva thanks to donor funding
(MissionNewswire) The Australian Salesian Missions Overseas Aid Fund (ASMOAF) has been working in collaboration with the local Salesian community in Suva, Fiji, to raise funds to construct a new multipurpose community center. The new center will provide youth a place where they can learn, engage in safe activities, and connect with peers and supportive adults.
Just more than 44 percent of the population in Fiji is under the age of 25 and there are limited opportunities for employment. The community center will serve a vital role in helping these youth find the right path for their future.
The center will include a multipurpose community space, open areas for learning, a kitchen and dining area, a sporting and recreational facility, and a community garden. The idea is to make the center as self-sustainable and eco-friendly as possible.
“This project will help ensure that local youth have access to the kind of social development programs that will get them on the right path in life,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “The new community center will be a place for youth to gather with their peers, and access life skills training and educational supports.”
ASMOAF, in conjunction with the Australian Social Communications team, has released a new video that celebrates the progress that has been made. The video updates donors on the impact of their contributions while highlighting the potential of the center and the need for further support.
Father Mikaere Leilua, a local Salesian parish priest, is overseeing the project. In the video, he expresses his deep gratitude to the donors. The project is well underway, having initially suffered setbacks related to wet weather and delays in the delivery of steel beams. It is hoped that the construction of this center will be a turning point for the Salesians in Fiji, providing them with even greater means of empowering local communities.
Salesian missionaries have been a part of the Fijian community since 1999, primarily facilitating education for young Salesians from the Pacific region, as well as operating a local parish. During a visit in 2015, the Rector Major Father Ángel Fernández Artime expressed a strong desire to see the Salesian community expand to include a strong youth-focused outreach, which was a motivating factor for this community center project.
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