PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Salesian lay missionaries volunteer in Rapolo community providing education and support to local youth
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Papua New Guinea provide primary and secondary education as well as technical skills training to prepare youth for the workforce. Missionaries also help to ensure that basic needs like shelter, food and water are met so students are able to focus on their studies.
At Don Bosco Technical Secondary School in Rapolo, a populated area in East New Britain, Salesian missionaries are grateful for the efforts and commitment of lay people who serve poor youth and their families. Every weekend, lay volunteers lead Catechism classes for the young children attending the newly established parish.
Every Sunday, lay volunteers also visit different communities and offer basic checkups on blood pressure and sugar levels for the people of the villages. This helps people to focus on their health so that they may live long and healthy lives.
Other lay volunteers dedicate themselves to working directly with youth in classrooms and courtyards. They offer children assistance and provide them supportive adults to listen, interact with them and be good role models.
This year, Stephen Stafstrom, who is 21 years old and from Florida, and Matthew Nguyen, also 21 years old and from Texas, are part of the Salesian Missions Lay Missioner program working in Papua New Guinea’s capital city of Port Moresby.
Salesian Lay Missioners make a one- to three-year commitment and are assigned to a Salesian mission, typically a school, youth center or parish, in one of the 132 countries where Salesian missionaries are active around the globe. Missioners spend time teaching, guiding and counseling children and their families, as well as learning about different cultures and communities. They become part of a close-knit team of Salesian missionaries, volunteers and lay staff working together to bring hope to poor youth and their families.
Papua New Guinea has a population of approximately 7.5 million. It is a resource-rich country with oil, gas and gold reserves as well as fertile land capable of producing high crop yields. Despite this, an estimated 40 percent of Papua New Guineans live below the poverty line of $1.25 per day, according to the World Bank.
Close to 50 percent of adults are illiterate and 25 percent of children are unable to attend school in Papua New Guinea. Part of the problem with getting to school, work and hospitals has to do with the country’s infrastructure. In rural areas, where nearly 88 percent of the population resides, there are few roads or means of transportation to get to schools or places of employment.
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Salesian Missions – Papua New Guinea
World Bank – Papua New Guinea Poverty