PARAGUAY: Street children attending programs at Don Bosco Roga will have new sports courts and sporting equipment thanks to Salesian Missions donors
(MissionNewswire) Salesian Missions donors have provided the funding to renovate sports facilities at Don Bosco Roga, a Salesian home for street children located in Lambaré, Paraguay. The current facilities are in need of renovation and repair as they are in terrible condition and children are at risk of injury. The funding will support the reconstruction of three new, safe sports courts and the acquisition of new sports equipment for soccer, basketball and volleyball.
“Sports programs teach youth both on and off the field,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Learning and playing team sports encourages leadership skills as well as teaches youth to work as part of a team. Students also learn important social skills and have opportunities for growth and maturity. We are thankful to our donors who were able to help support youth in Paraguay by funding the renovation of the courts and new sports equipment.”
Today, almost all Salesian programs include some form of recreation and some programs have developed more formal socio-sports components. The Salesian Missions office in Madrid, Spain formed a partnership with the Real Madrid Foundation that brings its Sports for Peace program to Salesian schools in several countries.
The Sports for Peace program’s motto is, “They play, we educate” and participants receive nutritional, family and psychological support, regular health checkups and the opportunity to participate in social and educational workshops in activities such as gymnastics, crafts, reading and citizenship. Training sessions on topics such as health, hygiene, values and the prevention of alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse are also provided. Outside of normal school hours participants in the program receive sports training by coaches specifically qualified by the Real Madrid Foundation.
Whether a formal athletic program or just informal time for recreation, sports are an integral component of Salesian programs. Safe recreational activities and team sports encourage physical health, foster community spirit and help keep kids off the street and deter them from joining gangs.
Salesian missionaries have been working in Paraguay since establishing a church in Asunción in 1896. Through the years, missionaries have operated educational programs to help advance the skills and knowledge of the indigenous population in the area while promoting strong cooperation with leaders of the indigenous culture. Local Salesian programming supports laws in favor of the indigenous populations, the recovery of original lands, sustainable development, the appreciation of cultural values in each ethnic group and the fostering of internal leadership.
Paraguay is among the poorest countries in South America. According to UNICEF, almost 23 percent of its population of 6.5 million people live in poverty earning less than $1 per day. The gap between the small upper class and the large lower class is extreme and offers virtually no social mobility.
Conditions of poverty drive youth into early labor and a lack of literacy, in addition to a weak educational foundation, compounds the problem. Those in poverty face overcrowding, low quality housing and a lack of access to basic household services. Paraguayans who only graduate from primary school are twice as likely to live in poverty as those who have access to and complete secondary school.
Salesian Missions publishes special projects like this on its websites for interested donors. To view the projects currently in need of funding, visit www.salesianmissions.org/projects.
UNICEF – Paraguay Statistics
World Bank – Paraguay