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MALI: Salesian “Stop Trafficking” campaign launches in Mali to increase availability of vocational training

(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Mali have launched a “Stop Trafficking” campaign that has had much success since its October 2015 launch in Ethiopia, Ghana and Senegal. A collaborative effort between the Salesian-run International Voluntary Service for Development (VIS) and the Don Bosco Mission Association in Turin, Italy, the campaign is now being launched in Mali, Nigeria and Liberia.

The campaign raises awareness of the dangers of youth migration. With a focus on youth leaving countries in Africa in search of a better life in Europe, it aims to prevent young migrants from becoming victims of crime and exploitation.

The campaign also provides analysis and research on the real reasons for migration, informs potential youth migrants about the risks of the journey and the real chances of success and gives individual guidance to those who want to leave. In doing so, the campaign is working to deter young people from leaving countries where people are most at risk of human trafficking. In collaboration with Salesian missionaries in Africa, the campaign will also raise funds to help with program development in targeted countries in Africa.

The Salesian Vocational Training Center in Bamako, Mali’s capital city, currently offers four diploma-based courses in metalworking, electricity and solar energy, automotive and agricultural mechanics and entrepreneurship. The center also awards a secondary school diploma in automotive mechanics and metalworking.

A goal of the campaign is to be able to offer these courses to additional youth in need. Salesian missionaries aim to increase the center’s enrollment from 433 students to 809 in the 2020 school year. They also plan to roll out a system to better identify vulnerable youth and make in-roads in helping them secure employment after graduation. In addition, the campaign will launch agricultural training in the rural town of Moribabougou that mostly targets women.

“The ‘Stop Trafficking’ campaign has found success in countries like Senegal where research there has shown that nearly 40 percent of youth leaving the country are leaving in search of better educational opportunities,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “With new and enhanced Salesian training programs in these countries, and now the expansion to Mali, Nigeria and Liberia, even more youth will have opportunities to stay in their home countries and gain an education. Once educated, they can find and retain employment and give back to their families and communities.”

Since 2012, Mali has faced a political and security crisis that has been concentrated mainly in the north of the country. The crisis has now reached the center of the country and is affecting hundreds of people, especially children. In 2017, armed groups in the northern region and the Malian government signed a reconciliation agreement, but in 2018 the conflict reemerged. According to World Vision, currently more than 483,400 people are in need of humanitarian assistance.

As a result of this crisis, the situation in the country has worsened and the population is living in alarming conditions. It has affected access to food, water, health, safety and a means of livelihood.



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