GUATEMALA: The Don Bosco Center in Tzacanihá provides education to more than 1,500 youth
(MissionNewswire) The Don Bosco Center, located in Tzacanihá, near San Pedro Carcha, has been welcoming children and youth from Raxruhá and the nearby city of Chamelco for 37 years. Father Antonio De Groot, founder of the center, lived and worked in Raxruhá before launching the center. This remote area, found at the edge of the forest, was almost inaccessible and had no basic services. The people in the region lacked basic education and lived primarily off the land.
One day, a young man asked Fr. De Groot if he could visit his home to help teach him how to read and write. Shortly thereafter, a second young man joined him, then a third, and soon a small group had formed—all who wanted to learn. As the group increased in numbers, elementary structures were developed.
Today, the Don Bosco Center features beautiful and functional buildings and green areas. Salesian missionaries working at the center educate more than 1,500 students across three locations. The Don Bosco Center has been a true educational revolution within this geographical location.
The ability to attend formal schooling has highlighted the young students’ intelligence and attentiveness, their great desire to learn and their boundless energy. Many students who have succeeded in graduating from the Don Bosco Center have gone on to higher learning at the university level and are now working as professionals.
“All youth deserve an opportunity to learn and have hope for the future,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Students supported by the Don Bosco Center have a real opportunity to gain an education, connect with their peers, and gain the work and social skills needed for long-term employment. Through this, they have the chance to better their lives and their community.”
Rural poverty hasn’t changed much in Guatemala during the last 20 years, according to the World Bank. While 70 percent of Guatemalan citizens live below the poverty line, the number is as high as 91 percent for its indigenous population. Many rural residents in Guatemala have only completed a sixth grade education. This is largely due to the expenses required to send children to schools which are often located far from their homes.
Salesian missionaries working and living in the country have been providing for the basic needs of Guatemala’s youth while helping to break the cycle of poverty in their lives. They work extensively with poor youth and their families at youth centers, orphanages, parishes, and primary and secondary schools, as well as operate technical schools, vocational training workshops and two universities in the country.
Australian Salesian Mission Overseas Aid Fund Annual Report 2018
Salesian Missions – Guatemala
World Bank – Guatemala