FIJI: Youth receive educational materials at home through home visits
Salesian missionaries visit youth in villages of Muanikoso and Makoi to provide educational materials
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Suva, Fiji, recently went to the villages of Muanikoso and Makoi to check on youth and provide them educational materials. Since the start of the pandemic and the lockdowns that followed, Salesians have been working to maintain relationships with youth in their programs and school. They have connected through calls, emails and social media.
Meetings have been organized on Zoom, but most youth in the villages do not have access to digital devices. In order to ensure these youth aren’t falling behind academically, the Salesian community decided to photocopy lessons and catechism activities, cook sweet doughnuts, and visit youth and their families while maintaining a safe distance.
Families appreciated the conversations and efforts that Salesians made to ensure youth had copies of the materials. The visits also included moments of prayer and the distribution of rosaries and copies of the Salesian Bulletin.
In Suva, thanks to the Australian Salesian Missions Overseas Aid Fund and support from the local community, Salesians constructed a new multipurpose community center. Once pandemic restrictions ease, the new center will provide youth a place where they can learn, engage in safe activities, and connect with peers and supportive adults.
The center includes 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.
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.
“This project is helping 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. In the meantime, Salesian missionaries are working to ensure that youth have access to continued education.”
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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