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INT’L DAY OF FAMILIES: Salesian Missions highlights programs that support families in need

International Day of Families is celebrated each year on May 15 

(MissionNewswireSalesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins humanitarian and other international organizations in honoring 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 in collaboration with UNICEF and the Division for Social Policy and Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Salesian missionaries around the globe provide for youth and their families who are facing challenges related to poverty, lack of education, hunger, and homelessness. Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, said, “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 International Day of Families, Salesian Missions is proud to share Salesian programs around the globe that provide education and services to support poor youth and their families.


Malnourished children and their mothers in Bolivia receive support through donor funding from Salesian Missions.

The Don Bosco Center for Malnourished Children in San Carlos, Santa Cruz, Bolivia, received funding from donors of Salesian Missions to help support children and families in need. Currently, 150 boys and girls access the services of the Don Bosco Center for Malnourished Children each year. The length of stay at the center is determined by the degree of malnutrition that the child faces.

As part of a new treatment model for children, mothers are involved in the recovery process. To make this easier, the center has set up temporary accommodations for the mothers and clearly defined their roles and responsibilities during their stay.

The mothers participate in training workshops on malnutrition and its prevention, caring for their children, growth, health, and preventive medicine. They are then able to apply what they have learned until it becomes a daily habit.


A mother and her two children receive a home with the help of student volunteers in India.

Volunteers with Don Bosco Arts and Science College, located in Angadikadavu, Kerala, India, built a house for a mother with two children. The family was homeless but now has shelter and the safety of somewhere to live.

The project began when Lucy George, a Salesian cooperator, saw the young mother named Jessy with her two children on a bus and heard Jessy talk about not having a place to live. George mentioned this to the students at Don Bosco Arts and Science College, and the students, staff and management took up the challenge of constructing a house.

The house is 600 square feet with two bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room and a work area. The cost was provided for by donations from students, staff, management and well-wishers. It is the fourth house constructed by volunteers of the college.


Migrant mothers and children receive services in a new Salesian center in Tijuana, Mexico.

The Don Bosco Reception Center, dedicated to giving shelter to women with children, was launched in Tijuana, Mexico. The reception center was set up to help women at risk, especially migrants. Women can receive legal, psychological, medical and spiritual services.

According to Father Agustín Novoa, director of the Salesian Center in Tijuana, the reception center’s model promotes “social friendship” in which international agencies involved in the project, governmental entities and the host community all work together to support women.

The common interest of the institutions involved is to work together without competition to provide a safe space for women and their children, and to put the woman, her dignity and the defense of her rights at the center of attention. Fr. Novoa said, “This is a great challenge that involves getting out of our comfort zone, being open to dialogue, going out to meet others, learning to live with others and looking for our commonalities.”

This new reception center is one project among many launched by the Salesian Center in Tijuana, which since 1987 has been providing services to migrants and poor youth living on the border between Mexico and the U.S.


Young mothers benefit from a sewing program through the Don Bosco Technical and Vocational Training School in Rwanda.

Don Bosco Technical and Vocational Training School in Rango, in the city of Butare in southern Rwanda, currently offers courses in construction, carpentry, welding and sewing. Each course spans two years of training, and the majority of students in the program are youth who come from vulnerable situations and have been living in poverty. Youth are ages 17-25, and some are single mothers looking to improve their lives for their children.

The rate of teenage pregnancies in the country has had exponential growth in recent years and is becoming a major obstacle to social and economic development among the poorest populations. Salesians have launched projects to help educate and promote family involvement while also providing skills training so that young mothers can find employment or start a small business, ensuring that they can live in a dignified manner with their children.

Recently, in collaboration with the Salesian Mission Office in Turin, Italy, Salesian missionaries launched a project to purchase 40 sewing machines to train and empower young mothers so they can acquire the skills to start a small business. Launching a modest tailoring or dressmaking shop or a simple sewing workshop can help provide an income for families.



BOLIVIA: Malnourished children and mothers receive support through donor funding/Photo courtesy of Salesian Missions (contact for usage permissions)

INDIA: Family receives home with help of students/Photo courtesy of Don Bosco India

MEXICO: Migrant mothers and children receive services in new center/ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)

RWANDA: Young mothers benefit from sewing program/ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS) 

Salesian Missions

United Nations International Day of Families

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