INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FAMILIES: Salesian Missions highlights programs that facilitate sustainable development practices to improve lives of youth and families
(MissionNewswire) Salesian Missions joins the international community in celebrating the International Day of Families celebrated each year on May 15. The day is organized by the International Federation for Family Development in partnership with SOS Children’s Villages International, and the collaboration of UNICEF and the Division for Social Policy and Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Each year, the International Day of Families focuses on a particular theme. This year’s theme, “Families and Climate Action,” focuses on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 13 which reflects the importance the international community attaches to families and their role in development.
The day focuses on families, family policies and major SDG13 targets including: SDG 13 target 13.3: improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning; and SDG 13 target 13.2: integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning.
“Sustainable development practices play an important role in programs that prepare youth and their families for the future,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “While our primary focus is on education, we also aim to provide other wrap-around services that help youth and their families lead healthy and productive lives while making a positive impact on their communities.”
In honor of the International Day for Families, Salesian Missions is proud to share some of its programs around the globe that provide education and services that support sustainable development.
The Spanish Salesian organization, Solidaridad Don Bosco, has launched a new project called, “Development of agricultural production in the rural communities of Cochabamba.” The goal of the project is to increase the capacity for families in Cochabamba, a city in the center of Bolivia, to support themselves in order to improve their living conditions.
The project takes place in Kami, Cochabamba, and will impact more than 200 people including young people and those living in rural areas as well as the Andean population. Through agriculture training, the project aims to help families in rural communities who are living according to an economic model of mere subsistence, move into a more developed productive system of farming.
With the exception of mining, the sole source of income and sustenance for families in Kami is farming. The new project will help contribute to improved farming methods including better ways to raise animals and increase fish production in the village. Residents will learn new ways to farm potatoes and catch freshwater fish, especially trout, and to improve the quality of pig meat, both for the community’s own consumption and for retail sale. In addition, a producer association will be created to support the development of sales strategies and a marketing plan to improve their competitiveness.
Salesian missionaries in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, are working on becoming self-sustainable and self-supporting thanks to a solar power project funded by the Austrian Development Agency. The project, “13 months of solar power in Ethiopia,” includes the installation of solar panels in Salesian centers, a solar energy awareness campaign in schools and a train-the-trainer program in many of the Salesian vocational and technical schools.
The project has provided pamphlets and facilitated national-level symposiums and discussions on the topic of renewable energy. Salesian missionaries have also established solar energy departments in the four Salesian technical schools in Adwa, Mekanissa, Dilla and Gambella.
From Jan. 22-Feb. 2, Salesian missionaries held a two-week training program for all the federal technical and vocational teachers in Ethiopia. The program provided the electrical studies teachers the tools and know-how to teach solar energy technology to their students. It also focused on helping teachers learn to train students on how to start their own businesses and generate income via the installation, repair and maintenance of solar power systems, a sector that is quickly gaining momentum in Ethiopia.
Youth in Salesian programs around the globe are committing to making the world a cleaner and healthier place to live. In 2016, Salesian missionaries in India established the Don Bosco Green Alliance, an international collective of young people from Don Bosco institutions and organizations that contributes to global environmental action, thought and policy.
The Don Bosco Green Alliance’s priorities are combating pollution, reducing global warming and eliminating disposable plastics. In each of these areas, the Alliance aims to partner with ongoing global campaigns promoted by the United Nations Environment Program (UN Environment) or other international organizations.
Members of the Alliance have undertaken such initiatives as environmental education to increase green areas and planting trees, the reduction of the use of non-degradable materials, promotion of organic agriculture and home gardens, preservation and conservation of water and increasing the use of renewable energy sources.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
In March 2019, five students from Don Bosco Technical School in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, participated in an interactive broadcast program held on the radio station TribeFM. They discussed topics around the theme of “Climate change and its effect on our lives.”
Youth shared their views on climate change, stressing the importance of raising awareness of the issue among their peers and highlighting what can be done to reduce their environmental impact. The event, which was broadcasted by the local NBC TV station, was organized in collaboration with the Social Communication Office of the Episcopal Conference of Papua New Guinea-Solomon Islands, led by Salesian Father Ambrose Pereira.
Salesian missionaries in Papua New Guinea provide primary and secondary education as well as technical skills training to prepare youth for the workforce. Missionaries also help to ensure that basic needs like shelter, food and water are met so students are able to focus on their studies.
ANS Photos (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)