KENYA: Don Bosco Boys Town hosts WorldSkills International outgoing honorary president for talk with students about importance of skills training
(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Boys Town in Nairobi, Kenya, was visited by Simon Bartley, outgoing honorary president of WorldSkills International. While addressing trainers and students, Bartley urged youth to embrace globalization, which will go a long way in fulfilling the world’s future needs. He said, “The future of our world is in the hands of our young people of today.”
The mission of WorldSkills International is to raise the profile and recognition of skilled people, and show how important skills are in achieving economic growth and personal success. This resonates with Don Bosco Tech Africa’s mission of enhancing youth development in Africa through efficient resource management and skills training.
Those in attendance at the meeting included Don Bosco Tech Africa’s Executive Director Father TJ George; Father Benn Agunga, principal of Don Bosco Boys Town; and Julius K. Serem and Tom Olang’o, both from the Technical and Vocational Education Training Authority. The team proposed the formation of the Kenyan Chapter of WorldSkills International, where Brother John Njuguna, the deputy director of Don Bosco Boys Town, would be a national steering committee member.
Don Bosco Boys Town program provides education and technical skills training to former street children in Nairobi and is currently serving more than 600 boys and girls in primary, secondary and technical school.
Students who complete their primary education are then assisted with secondary education or are advised to choose technical training in sister institutions. The secondary education is most often provided at Don Bosco Technical Secondary School in the town of Embu, northeast of Nairobi.
The two-year technical training provides youth with a wide variety of skills training programs 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.
“Don Bosco Technical Secondary School attracts youth that do not do well on national college exams and provides them an alternative opportunity to acquire marketable skills that can help them make a living,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “The tuition cost of the training is highly subsidized to make it affordable for the low-income student population in Kenya.”
Despite the steady growth of Kenya’s economy, according to UNICEF, more than half of the country’s population lives below the poverty line on less than $1 a day. UNICEF also noted that Nairobi is home to 3 million residents, most of whom endure lives of extreme poverty in the city’s slums. The most vulnerable are families and children who live in these urban slums and in areas of the country most affected by HIV/AIDS. Many do not have access to healthcare, nutrition, sanitation or education.
Youth living in Nairobi’s slums are at risk for exploitation, forced labor and other abuses. Few attend the later stages of school as compared to those living in Kenya’s more rural areas. The few schools serving this disadvantaged community are beyond the financial means of most families. UNICEF noted that while Kenya has free and compulsory education, youth in poverty still cannot afford to attend school. Close to 90 percent of children from poor households fail to complete their basic education.
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Salesian Missions – Kenya
UNICEF – Kenya Statistics