KENYA: More than 200 students take part in interviews to have a chance to study at Don Bosco Boys Town
(MissionNewswire) More than 200 youth interested in entering technical skills training programs at Don Bosco Boys Town in Nairobi, Kenya, recently participated in interviews to test their skills. Each youth had to sit down for an interview with the director of the program. While there are only 145 spots available for the next school term, the youth remain hopeful for their chance to gain an education.
The Salesian-run Bosco Boys 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.
“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,” says Father Mark Hyde, 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.”
The two-year technical training offered through Bosco Boys gives youth 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.
In addition to the education provided, youth in the Bosco Boys program are given professional counseling to help them overcome any difficulties they may face in their lives. Through counseling and other activities, the program gives youth the tools to develop a positive healthy outlook on life and the education and training necessary to find stable employment.
“All youth deserve a chance at a better life,” adds Fr. Hyde. “At Bosco Boys, Salesian missionaries help young people take responsibility for their own lives and train them in the skills necessary to find and retain employment in order to support themselves and improve their communities.”
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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UNICEF – Kenya Statistics