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HUMAN RIGHTS DAY: Salesians Highlight Programs that Provide Education for Marginalized Youth

(MissionNewswire) Human Rights Day is celebrated around the globe on Dec. 10. Each year provides an opportunity to focus on a particular human rights issue and gives all people a chance to advocate for the full enjoyment of human rights for everyone. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted on Dec. 10, 1948.

The theme for this year’s Human Rights Day is My Voice Counts. This 2012 theme focuses on the rights of all people, particularly those whose voices are often marginalized — women, youth, minorities, persons with disabilities, indigenous people and the poor. The goal is to make sure everyone’s voice is heard in public life and is included in political decision-making.

“Everyone has the right to be heard and to shape the decisions that affect their community,” says Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General in a recent statement on Human Rights Day. “Over the past century, we have made undeniable progress along the path of inclusion. Yet far too many groups and individuals face far too many obstacles.”

“No country has succeeded in ensuring that all its inhabitants are able to participate fully in public affairs, including the right to be elected to public office and to have equal access to public services,” adds Ban Ki-moon. “Enacting new rights or removing unjust laws is not always sufficient. Too often, discrimination persists in practice, creating barriers and mindsets that can be hard to overcome. International law is clear. No matter who you are, or where you live, your voice counts. On this Day, let us unite to defend your right to make it heard.”

Through educational programming, the Salesians fight tirelessly each day to make sure the voices of marginalized youth are heard and accounted for. In honor of Human Rights Day, Salesian Missions highlights their unique educational programs that are helping poor youth receive an education and find a path out of poverty, bringing them hope for the future.


For more than 30 years, homeless children have received support at Don Bosco City in Medellin, Colombia, one of the oldest and largest programs for street children in Latin America. The program serves both boys and girls and goes beyond traditional homeless shelters by providing a three-stage program which culminates in vocational training. First, youth are given safety and shelter, along with food and clothing. Next, youth move into a special house where they receive remedial education and learn to live with others. In the final stage, youth receive jobs skills training or attend local schools. Through this model of education and rehabilitation, youth are able to learn the skills needed to support themselves and break the cycle of poverty. Learn more about Salesian Missions programs in Colombia >


Children’s Parliaments in India are some of the projects in which the Salesians have pledged to ensure that the voices of children are heard. Over 7,600 children participate in the Andhra Region Parliament, part of the Tsunami Project which aims to improve education for the most vulnerable children. The objective of this Parliament is to educate young people to know their rights and to work to reduce inequalities and injustices. Learn more about Salesian Missions programs in India >


In the Philippines, drop-out rates double as children reach secondary school, according to UNICEF, and there are more than 11 million out-of-school youth. Salesian Missions’ Tuloy Foundation provides a second chance for at-risk youth to succeed in school. Street children are able to take part in an alternative learning module with five levels of instruction in six subjects. Children progress from first grade through high school. Older youth pursue vocational training in a variety of technologies, including automotive, electrical, welding and woodworking. Learn more about Salesian Missions programs in the Philippines >


The Don Bosco Fambul program in Sierra Leone aims to change the lives of children. It directly addresses issues facing street children – including emotional trauma from the war and lost family. With the goal of reuniting with their families, youth participate in a 10-month program which includes counseling and medical care – as well as education. Youth attend classes during the day according to their level of ability and any previous schooling. In the evening, they are responsible for helping each other with homework. Youth are tested each month and receive encouragement for progress – building self-esteem and motivation – and hope for the future. Learn more about Salesian Missions programs in Sierra Leone >



ANS – Over 7,000 children make their voices heard

United Nations – Human Rights Day

United Nations – Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Salesian Missions – Our Work


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