INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR SPORT DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE: Salesian Missions highlights socio-sports programs
(MissionNewswire) Salesian Missions joins the United Nations (UN) and other international organizations in celebrating the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, which is celebrated each year on April 6. The UN General Assembly designated the day in 2013 and it has been celebrated each year since 2014. The adoption of this day signifies the increasing recognition by the UN of the positive influence that sports can have on the advancement of human rights and on social and economic development.
In the Declaration of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, sport’s role in social progress is further acknowledged: “Sport is also an important enabler of sustainable development. We recognize the growing contribution of sport to the realization of development and peace in its promotion of tolerance and respect and the contributions it makes to the empowerment of women and of young people, individuals and communities as well as to health, education and social inclusion objectives.”
“Sports programs teach youth both on and off the field,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Learning and playing team sports encourages leadership skills as well as teaches youth to work as part of a team. Students also learn important social skills and have opportunities for growth and maturity.”
In honor of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, Salesian Missions highlights sports programs in countries around the globe.
The Mama Margaret Salesian Youth Center in Niterói, a municipality of the state of Rio de Janeiro in the southeast region of Brazil, has made sports an important part of its educational curriculum. In 2013, the center opened the Social and Sports School, a collaboration between Salesian Missions of Madrid and the Real Madrid Foundation. Together, they facilitate the “They play, we educate” program in which participants receive nutritional, family and psychological support, regular health checkups and the opportunity to participate in social and educational workshops, gymnastics, crafts, reading and citizenship activities.
The collaboration between the Salesians and the Real Madrid Foundation has been very successful, granting more than 2,000 youth and vulnerable children the opportunity to participate in similar programs around the globe. This new socio-sports program in Brazil is operating alongside 13 other socio-sporting schools in the eight additional countries of Togo, Benin, Congo, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Portugal, Senegal and the Dominican Republic.
Don Bosco Youth Center in Lilongwe, Malawi, has become a symbol of youth empowerment through sporting activities as well as vocational and technical education. Don Bosco Youth Center also provides leadership training for youth with the aim of equipping them with skills in leading and motivating other youth toward positive behavior and social change in their respective communities.
The center hosts more than 600 youth each day from the surrounding townships of Areas 23, 24, 44, Kawale and Chilinde. It offers facilities for youth development in sporting disciplines including a football pitch and courts for basketball, netball and volleyball games. The campus also hosts Don Bosco Youth Technical Institute, which offers commercial and technical courses such as fashion arts and beauty, accounting, bricklaying, motor vehicle mechanics, hospitality and information and communications technology.
Salesian programs in Senegal have a focus on sports education. Socio-sports schools in the cities of Dakar and Thies started their programs in 2012 and one in the city of Tambacounda has been in operation since 2010. The overall objective of the schools is to provide students between the ages of 5 and 17 with organized sports that promote positive values and teamwork. The sports programs are provided in addition to traditional vocational education programs and social development services.
The Real Madrid Foundation provided a training course at the Don Bosco Kër Center for Salesian educators to learn sports techniques and advanced educational lessons. As part of the foundation’s “They play, we educate” program already operating in Salesian schools across the globe, participants receive nutritional, family and psychological support, regular health checkups and the opportunity to participate in social and educational workshops, gymnastics, crafts and reading and citizenship activities. Training sessions on topics such as health, hygiene, values and the prevention of alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse are also provided.