INT’L DAY OF EDUCATION: Salesian Missions highlights educational programs for poor youth
Salesians considered largest private provider of vocational and technical training in the world
(MissionNewswire) Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins humanitarian organizations and countries around the globe in honoring International Day of Education celebrated Jan. 24 each year since 2018. The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed International Day of Education in celebration of the role of education for peace and development.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) noted, “Today, 244 million children and youth are out of school, and 771 million adults are illiterate. There is a crisis in foundational learning, literacy and numeracy skills among young learners. 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic math; less than 40 percent of girls in Sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school and some 4 million children and youth refugees are out of school. Their right to education is being violated and it is unacceptable. It’s time to transform education.”
The 2023 theme for the day is “To invest in people, prioritize education” and calls for maintaining strong political mobilization around education. UNESCO noted, “Education must be prioritized to accelerate progress towards all the Sustainable Development Goals against the backdrop of a global recession, growing inequalities and the climate crisis.”
Salesians provide primary and secondary schools and are considered the largest private provider of vocational and technical training in the world. Programs focus on helping vulnerable youth by providing access to educational opportunities that match the local employment needs. Around the globe, there are nearly 1,000 Salesian vocational, technical, professional and agricultural schools — with a focus on serving poor and needy youth.
In honor of International Day of Education, Salesian Missions is proud to highlight educational programs that benefit youth around the globe.
Fifty young women who live at the Salesian Surakshita Home, located in the town of Ravulapalem in Andhra Pradesh, India, were supported through donor funding from Salesian Missions. Surakshita Home provides living facilities for young women who have been in legal trouble. There are dorms, bathrooms, a dining hall, a work room and a training hall.
When young women enter the program, they are given clothing and proper nutrition. They are sent for a medical examination, and women with special health needs receive individual follow-up care. They are also able to access a counselor and legal support for their cases in court.
During eight months, 50 women completed the tailoring course and some found jobs at tailoring shops. Others were able to do dress making and embroidery work for themselves and for others. Twenty of the women were given tailoring machines to earn an income and sustain themselves.
At the end of the training and their time at Surakshita Home, 13 women were able to reintegrate back with their families. The women also participated in vigil to support awareness about ending child marriage in the country. India reported the highest number of child marriages in the world, according to a UNICEF report on ending child marriages in India.
Don Bosco Boys Town (Bosco Boys), located in Nairobi, Kenya, launched the Dual Apprenticeship Training program focused on the latest plumbing technology. This program will train 50 students in its initial class and is the first of its kind in Kenya. It is approved by the Ministry of Education, made possible through the Swiss contact, and funded by the Hilti Foundation in Switzerland.
There are 11 top plumbing companies in Kenya as partners. The project aims to provide apprentices with modern technology that bridges the gap between training institutions and job market needs. The training lasts for two years and is certified.
Don Bosco Boys Town provides education and technical skills training to former street children. The two-year technical training provides youth with a wide variety of skills to choose from, including tailoring, car engineering/mechanics, carpentry, electrical work, and welding, as well as secretarial skills and a full spectrum of computer-related job skills. After graduation, more than 80 percent of graduates are employed in their fields of study. Many students go on to attend university or establish their own businesses and become entrepreneurs in Nairobi.
The Salesian-run Notre Dame de Clairvaux Center, located in Ivato, Madagascar, houses more than 100 youth ages 12-22. The Salesian facility is a home for orphaned, at-risk or street children. They are offered comprehensive support including medical care, food, clothing, shelter and education. Salesians want to offer them a chance at a better future.
Youth also have an opportunity to take technical and vocational training in subjects like automotive mechanics, welding, agriculture, animal husbandry, carpentry, and masonry. These subjects are available to enhance youth’s employable skills but also address the needs of the community. In addition to job skills training, the center has a job search office with a coordinator who helps youth who are graduating find and retain stable work.
Carlos is one young man who has benefited from the center. Born into a very poor family, he recently finished his welding apprenticeship. Carlos is intelligent and kind, but behind his infectious smile lies a traumatic past. He experienced extreme physical abuse by his father as punishment for ruining a meal. Carlos managed to escape and, after asking a local priest for help, was taken to the Salesian center. With school finished, Carlos now works in a machine shop and hopes and prays that one day his family situation will change.
City of Hope, run by the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco in Lusaka, Zambia, received a donation of furniture from the Reuse Network, which matches surplus items with organizations and people who need them. The 2021 shipment was made possible thanks to the ongoing partnership Salesian Missions. The furniture will be used to outfit the current school and other outbuildings where educational opportunities are provided to the local community.
City of Hope was established to meet the needs of youth and their families living in the most severe poverty in Lusaka. The vast majority of children attending City of Hope programs are those who have been abused, live on the streets or are victims of child trafficking.
The City of Hope’s Open Community School serves those suffering from malnutrition, lack of education and family deprivation. Basic education is offered to youth between the ages of 9-17. Primary school classes make up the first four years, after which students take the government’s grade seven examinations. Most City of Hope students do not have the opportunity to attend other schools because of a lack of financial means.
INDIA: Women empowered through donor funding from Salesian Missions/Photo courtesy of Salesian Missions (contact for usage permissions)
KENYA: Don Bosco Boys Town launches plumbing apprenticeship program/ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)