GLOBAL: World faces ‘historic economic decline,’ says report
Salesian Missions provides job training to vulnerable people around the globe
(MissionNewswire) Due to COVID-19, up to 150 million new people could be living in extreme poverty by 2021, says the Global Humanitarian Overview 2021 from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The report also states how unemployment is affecting workers worldwide:
— Nearly 80 percent of the 2 billion workers in the informal economy have been hurt by work hour losses.
— Many are working in the hardest-hit sectors such as accommodation and food services, manufacturing, and retail.
— Women, who make up the majority of informal workers and are over-represented globally in these sectors, have been disproportionately hurt by economic losses.
Around the globe, Salesian missionaries and Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, focus on helping vulnerable people by providing access to educational opportunities that match the local employment needs.
In nearly 1,000 Salesian vocational, technical, professional and agricultural schools, youth gain the skills they need to secure sustainable jobs and improve their lives. Many programs focus on job training for young women.
Scholarships support young women in South Sudan
Young women attending the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center in Juba, South Sudan, have received scholarships to help continue their studies thanks to funding from Salesian Missions donors. The scholarships cover 50 percent of the school’s tuition, making it much easier for young women to gain an education.
“This program has given me the courage to return to school after completing my secondary education. I had not been able to continue in school because of financial problems. After noticing that women were given this opportunity, I became much motivated because it is now affordable for me. This program has contributed much in my personal life by allowing me to obtain knowledge and skills. Without it, I cannot imagine how I would have continued my education or found a good job,” said student Ayany Pamela.
John Garry, a teacher at the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center, noted that the center and education provided have played a role in transforming the lives of youth in many ways. In South Sudan, due to lack of financial support, many families force their girls into early marriages. The program’s goal is to reduce the incidence of early marriage and allow young women to gain an education and independence in the workplace.
Garry added, “As a citizen of the country, I see a lot of improvements as more girls gain an education. There are numbers of girls joining technical fields such as general electricity, auto mechanics and computer IT, which has not always been the case in South Sudan. Without any doubt, very soon our girls will compete with men in the development of the country in such fields. Don Bosco and our benefactors have given hope to many parents with very limited financial income.”
Partnership with USAID helps young, vulnerable as part of COVID-19 response
With support from the U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Salesian Missions has launched a new project: “Salesian Solidarity with Italy: the Emergency Response to COVID-19.”
This activity is one element of USAID’s $50 million commitment to Italy to help save lives and build resilience for the future.
The project will help develop technical and vocational training for students who have experienced a lapse in education due to the pandemic. With an unpredictable timeline for a return to normalcy, these investments in career-focused training will help young people make up for any loss in education access. With the local Salesian partner CNOS-FAP, this effort will reach more than 25,000 students.
In addition, the project will provide the funding to acquire annual licenses for technical software, e-simulators and e-platforms aimed at delivering distance learning in vocational fields and at simulating practical work-based environments. One of the challenges with e-learning is the inability of lower income students to access online tools. Thanks to ongoing relationships with Apple and other companies, it is possible for CNOS-FAP to acquire educational devices for its students at competitive prices. In addition, 550 start-up technology kits will be donated to the most vulnerable and poor students.
“The United States is proud to support ‘Salesian Solidarity with Italy: the Emergency Response to COVID-19.’ This project will provide online educational training, as well as food, protective equipment, and psychological assistance to vulnerable populations across Italy. Coordinated action is essential to mitigating the long-term effects of COVID-19,” said U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Callista L. Gingrich. She added, “Faith-based organizations such as Salesian Missions are reliable partners in providing care and support to those most in need during this pandemic.”
Young women gain skills for available tailoring jobs in India
Don Bosco Human Resource Development Center, located in Gagillapur, Hyderabad, India, has graduated 15 young women from a two-month basic training course in tailoring. The center has trained more than 3,000 youth since 2010.
The training helped them prepare for work in a tailoring shop or some may start their own small tailoring business to make a living, support themselves and help their families.
“Salesian programs not only educate, but they prepare students for work in fields that are hiring and jobs are available,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions.
Earlier in the year, the Don Bosco Development Center’s tailoring department was able to sew 1,000 masks as part of the early prevention efforts for the COVID-19 pandemic. The masks were distributed free of charge to the poor in the local area and within the state of Telugu.
“Salesian centers around the globe are working in their local communities to address the pandemic that is affecting us all,” said Fr. Baek. “Salesian missionaries live in the communities where they work and are perfectly positioned to respond in times of crisis. They are working within their programs to keep youth and staff safe and healthy and providing help to their communities when possible.”
Photos courtesy of Salesian Missions (contact for usage permissions)
Global Humanitarian Overview 2021 from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)