MEXICO: 50 Years of Programs Providing Education, Opportunity to Country’s “Future”
(MissionNewswire) In mid-February, the Salesians celebrated 50 years of providing education and other services to poor youth in the Province of Mexico-Guadalajara. Salesian Rector Major Father Pascual Chávez Villanueva led the celebration which lasted several days.
“The celebration of the 50th Anniversary of our Province represents a year in which we remember those who laid the foundation for its growth and the quality of the work here,” says Father Salvador Murguía Villalobos, provincial of Mexico-Guadalajara. “This leads us to also see the positive contributions we have made in the lives of young people and their families.”
On the first day of the celebration, the Salesian Youth Movement came together in the auditorium of Anáhuac Chapalita College. There, Fr. Chavez told the young people to dream big and do great things while reminding them to take advantage of all that has been given to them in order to lead happy lives.
“You are Mexico’s future,” said Fr. Chávez. “Think big, dream up a different Mexico.”
According to the World Bank, approximately 45 percent of the country’s population, almost 52 million people, are living in poverty in Mexico. The Salesians there primarily direct their efforts toward the country’s at-risk youth, including girls and young mothers who face severe dangers on the streets.
In Saltillo, a Salesian Youth Center has developed innovative programs that are preventing poor children from dropping out of school while providing important opportunities to keep them on the right track. At-risk youth take part in programs that integrate education, social activities and technical training. The goal is to guide youth back into mainstream education in order for them to reach their full potential.
A Salesian-run “Yolia” program in Mexico City helps girls and mothers who face severe dangers living on the streets. Here, girls and women attend a day center where meals, tutoring, therapy and job skills training in fields such as jewelry making and hair styling is available. Girls can choose to live in the residential area where they receive additional education and services while building a sense of dignity and self-worth.
In early December 2012, a new medical clinic opened as part of a Salesian-run program in Morelia. Each week, close to 600 youth access the Salesian Oratory (youth center) at Morelia. Here, young people are educated and given access to social services. The new clinic provides health services for these youth as well as those in the neighboring villages and districts.
“The Salesians have a long history of providing for the needs of poor youth in Mexico,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “As we celebrate this milestone we look toward the future to continue to educate more youth and provide programs and services that help them not only survive but thrive and lead productive lives.”
Salesian – Province of Mexico-Guadalajara
Salesian Missions – Mexico
World Bank- Mexico