LIBERIA: Salesian Missions donors support new science lab and expanded courses for additional students at Mary Help of Christians Catholic School
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries are able to build and equip a new science lab and expand courses to accommodate new students at the Mary Help of Christians Catholic School Matadi in Monrovia, Liberia thanks to Salesian Missions donors. The country is still recovering from a civil war and the deadly Ebola epidemic that affected 10,678 people with 4,810 reported deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
After the Ebola crisis, Salesian missionaries worked to unite vulnerable Ebola orphans in Liberia with relatives or with educational programs to provide much needed ongoing care. Other Salesian programs provide food, medical care and education to Ebola orphans and former child soldiers. Salesian missionaries continue working to help poor youth and their families escape poverty in the country.
An estimated 64 percent of Liberians live below the poverty line and 1.3 million live in extreme poverty, out of a population of 4.6 million, according to World Food Programme. Food security is also affecting 41 percent of the population making chronic malnutrition high.
Whether working to rehabilitate former child soldiers or assist young women in overcoming barriers to education, Salesian programs in Liberia are providing opportunities for youth to live up to their potential through both academic and social programs. Salesian volunteer programs and Catholic schools have helped more than 2,300 students and their families.
The Mary Help of Christians School provides a foundation of education and support for young students who would otherwise have limited opportunities to better their lives. The school started in 1993 and serves just over 560 students. It includes a feeding program which serves over 100 of its students and ensures that those in need receive a nutritious meal each day.
“Salesian missionaries in Liberia have had to overcome many challenges including high rates of poverty that continue to leave many children and families in need,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Education is always the primary focus of Salesian programs but since Salesian missionaries live and work in the communities they serve, they are also able to recognize local needs and customize programs and services to meet those specific needs, greatly impacting local youth.”
In addition to the Mary Help of Christians school, the Don Bosco Youth Center in Monrovia provides support and programming for students and offers after school activities from 4 to 6 p.m. The center gives former child soldiers and other young people the opportunity to experience some of the joys of childhood.
Youth can participate in recreational activities and sports each day ranging from chess to soccer. Some participate in a cultural troupe where they sing, dance, act, practice African acrobatics and even perform at local functions. In addition to recreational opportunities, youth have access to vocational training and academic courses at the center. It also offers a women’s development program for participants to learn self-reliance.
World Bank – Liberia