MADAGASCAR: Youth at risk receive support
Salesian-run Notre Dame de Clairvaux Center houses more than 100 youth
(MissionNewswire) The Salesian-run Notre Dame de Clairvaux Center, located in Ivato, Madagascar, houses more than 100 youth ages 12-22. The Salesian facility is a home for orphaned, at-risk or street children. They are offered comprehensive support including medical care, food, clothing, shelter and education. Salesians want to offer them a chance at a better future.
Youth also have an opportunity to take technical and vocational training in subjects like automotive mechanics, welding, agriculture, animal husbandry, carpentry, and masonry. These subjects are available to enhance youth’s employable skills but also address the needs of the community. In addition to job skills training, the center has a job search office with a coordinator who helps youth who are graduating find and retain stable work.
Carlos is one young man who has benefited from the center. Born into a very poor family, he recently finished his welding apprenticeship. Carlos is intelligent and kind, but behind his infectious smile lies a traumatic past. He experienced extreme physical abuse by his father as punishment for ruining a meal. Carlos managed to escape and, after asking a local priest for help, was taken to the Salesian center.
His father is now in prison but his relatives still vow to take revenge and kill him to erase the disgrace. For Carlos, returning to his village is now impossible. He sees his mother and three siblings only once a year because the trip is difficult and extremely expensive. Without her husband, his mother struggles to put food on the table for the family.
With school finished, Carlos works in a machine shop. He hopes and prays that one day his family situation will change. Until then, he is supported by his boss as well as the Salesian missionaries who housed and educated him. He finds hope for the future despite his challenging past.
“Salesian missionaries have been operating Notre Dame de Clairvaux since 1984,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “The center provides support to children and youth living in extreme poverty, many of whom are fatherless or orphans who have been abandoned by both parents. Youth have their needs met and can focus on getting an education for their future.”
Salesian missionaries have been living and working in Madagascar since 1981. Today, they have 11 centers and work in several locations, including the Don Bosco House in Ivato in the outskirts of the capital of Antananarivo, where Salesians have focused support.
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 10-24, according to UNICEF. This number is expected to double by 2025.
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Salesian Missions – Madagascar
UNICEF – Madagascar