MADAGASCAR: Playground equipment donated to Salesian Center in Bemaneviky
(MissionNewswire) Eight playground rides, built for the Don Bosco Oratory in San Donà di Piave (Venice), were donated to the Salesian Center in Bemaneviky, Madagascar. The initiative was made possible by a fundraiser developed by Salesian Father Enrico Gaetan and by volunteers who also did lathe and carpentry work for the project. Four of the playground rides have already been assembled by volunteers, much to the joy of the local children.
“Salesian oratories provide a range of services for poor youth, including giving them a safe place to play,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “At this Salesian oratory, youth are able to access the Salesian program and gain assistance with homework, connect with their peers, and be connected with adults who provide mentorship and support in their lives.”
The mission in Bemaneviky was the first Salesian mission in Madagascar. Located in the northern area of the island, the mission stands in a rugged area where roads become impenetrable during the rainy season. Environmental factors make life extremely difficult in the region, but Salesian missionaries were able to open a parish, schools, a health clinic and a pharmacy despite limited resources.
Archbishop Rosario Vella, the diocese’s Salesian bishop, built and started as many as nine schools in less than 10 years. While the structures are poor, they mean everything to the more than 2,000 children who are able to attend and gain an education. The kindergarten and elementary schools are the first step of what could be a longer path through the Saint-Antoine of Bemaneviky secondary school and even on to vocational training or university.
Madagascar, an island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of East Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. Seventy percent of Madagascar’s almost 19 million people live in poverty with 5.7 million of those youth between the ages of 10 and 24 years, according to UNICEF. This number is expected to double by 2025. Due to Madagascar’s poverty, geography and an ongoing political crisis, the country is ranked 158 out of the 188 countries classified by the 2015 Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Program. Women and children in the country are particularly vulnerable to the effects of poverty.
For close to 80 percent of the country’s inhabitants who live in rural areas and practice subsistence farming, living conditions have been steadily declining in recent years, particularly when it comes to access to transportation, health services, education and markets. Because of the lack of hygiene and access to safe drinking water coupled with chronic malnutrition, people in Madagascar often suffer from respiratory ailments, tuberculosis and hepatitis.
Photo courtesy ANS
UNICEF – Madagascar