KENYA: Youth rescued from streets gain education
Many students go on to attend university or establish their own businesses
(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Boys Town (Bosco Boys) in Nairobi, Kenya, provides a home, school, playground and church for youth, primarily boys, who have been rescued from the streets. Boys 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 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% 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 program was started in 1990, and in 2022, it rescued 145 boys. Additionally, 215 boys and girls were in the primary school and 44 boys were in the technical school and residing in the center. Salesians also provide financial support and have paid the school fees for 75 youth in secondary schools and 25 youth in university, colleges, and technical institutions. More than 5,000 children and youth have benefited from this program since it started.
“Our story begins on the streets,” explained Father Chege Erastus, director of Don Bosco Boys Town. “We find boys living on the streets and welcome them into our program. We rehabilitate and educate them and then reintegrate them back into their communities and families. The boys we serve are 8 to 17 years old. When we first come in contact with them on the streets, we befriend them and learn their story. We only invite those who are willing into the program because it requires dedication and change. On the streets they learn behaviors that are not acceptable in society. We make sure they are willing to change their behavior and gain an education. Their participation in the process is vital to their success.”
According to the World Bank, more than 7.8 million people in Kenya are living in extreme poverty, with the majority in rural areas. There are approximately 6.6 million people living on less than $1.90 a day in rural regions, while 1.1 million extremely poor people live in urban areas. Overall, the poverty incidence declined in recent years, but at a lower rate in urban areas than rural ones.
Youth living in Kenya’s larger cities like Nairobi 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.
Photo courtesy Don Bosco Boys Town
Salesian Missions – Kenya
World Bank – Kenya