IVORY COAST: At-risk children receive education and social support
Don Bosco Child Protection Center has been in operation since 1994
(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Child Protection Center, located in Koumassi, Abidjan, Ivory Coast, has been in operation since 1994, providing education and social support for street children and children in poverty. At the center, youth are fed a hot meal in the morning before heading off to school so they have the nutrition they need to focus on their studies.
After school youth engage in recreational activities as part of the rehabilitation process. With the help of a coach, sports instructor or staff, youth participate in sports and physical education to stay healthy. These activities also enable socialization and teach morals and values.
“Salesian missionaries focus their attention on working with youth in need and their families to provide education and social services to provide them hope for a better life,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Youth who are able to engage in productive activities are able to pay forward what they have learned in Salesian centers. They connect with their communities and increase their self-confidence.”
According to the World Bank, 46 percent of those living in the Ivory Coast live in conditions of poverty — with more than a quarter of the population living in severe poverty on less than $1.25 a day. The Ivory Coast has one of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in West Africa. While a wide range of national and international initiatives focus on HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention and testing, the collapse of public health facilities in the north, as a result of years of conflict, has made the situation worse.
During the country’s time of war, Salesian missionaries provided life-saving shelter, food and security for the thousands fleeing violence and seeking refuge on their grounds. Today, Salesian missionaries continue their work providing shelter, education and social development services to youth and their families. They also work with the victims of war to heal the country’s deep wounds. They listen, help victims seek compensation and work for social reconciliation between opposing groups. Known for their work with child soldiers around the globe, Salesian missionaries are also providing training for youth, some who had been aggressors during the war.
Photo courtesy of Don Bosco Child Protection & Youth Empowerment Projects
Don Bosco Child Protection & Youth Empowerment Projects Newsletter July – Sept. 2022
Salesian Missions – Ivory Coast
World Bank – Ivory Coast