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MOROCCO: More than 60 poor and migrant youth are taking vocational training course in renewable energies at Salesian center

(MissionNewswire) More than 60 poor and migrant youth are receiving free vocational training in renewable energies through a Salesian program in Kénitra, Morocco. Every month, vocational education students receive scholarships funded by the German association, Otto Benecke, to help support their education.

Kénitra is a city on the outskirts of the capital city of Rabat and home to close to 800,000 people. The vocational training program in renewable energies is part of a broader Salesian educational center which has more than 1,200 students enrolled in elementary, secondary and vocational education.

Salesian missionaries have been providing education at the Salesian center since founding an elementary school there in 1937. After the country’s independence in 1956, Salesian missionaries expanded the school, adding secondary and vocational programs that help youth access training to meet the local labor market demands.

The Salesian schools in Kénitra offer students a comprehensive education, regardless of differences in religious beliefs. Today, the schools are run by three Salesian missionaries with the help of lay collaborators. The elementary, secondary and technical schools serve predominantly Muslim students.

The technical school directly prepares youth for employment with classes being offered in renewable energies, electronics, socio-cultural studies and community education. The College of Don Bosco, a hostel for students attending the École Don Bosco, provides space for extra lessons and additional educational support. There is also a library open to the public and a computer center available to the students.

“The goal is to provide a path out of poverty for poor youth through education, regardless of their religious affiliation,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian schools provide necessary skills for youth to find success later in life, both personally and in the job market. Once they become employed, they are able to contribute back to their families and communities.”

Salesian missionaries in Kénitra provide services to roughly 120 Catholics, mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa, who attend the local parish and take part in several other initiatives that include cultural and sporting activities. Additional Salesian endeavors in Morocco meet the needs of street youth, offering ongoing support through cultural, sports and job training programs.

Over the last several years, Morocco has made significant strides toward reducing the number of Moroccans living in poverty. Despite progress, a drastic gap in wealth continues to exist between those living in urban and rural areas, according to the World Bank. Out of close to 4 million people living in poverty, 3 million are living in rural areas. Statistics show that while one in 10 persons are poor in urban regions, one in four are poor in rural areas.

Seventy-five percent of the country’s rural poor depend on agriculture for their livelihood yet access to farmable land is scarce. Many have access to only a limited amount of non-irrigated arable land which has scant agricultural potential. Poverty is equally prevalent in the country’s mountainous areas and fishing communities along the coast, which are home to some of the poorest Moroccans.



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