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PERU: Salesian missionaries at Don Bosco Home develop new music program for youth

(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries are working in Calca, a peasant community in the Andean Sierra region of Peru. A Salesian mission in Calca provides programs and services for 40 rural communities spread over a route of 3,000 km and impacts 27,000 beneficiaries. One of the programs, the Don Bosco Home, provides care for 40 youth who come from troubled family backgrounds.

While there is much talk about Peru’s economic growth, this is not reflected in the remote villages in the country’s interior. Salesian missionaries report that Calca’s poverty rate is very high and the community also has high rates of child malnutrition and family violence. Access to education for children and older youth living in the valleys is very limited. Many of these children walk up to four hours a day during their commute to and from school and are exposed to dangers such as sexual abuse, abduction for the purpose of human trafficking and induction into child prostitution.

The Don Bosco Home is part of the larger Red de Casas Don Bosco initiative which serves hundreds of children and older youth, offering them a home, food, education and spiritual and psychological support. Red de Casas Don Bosco includes 11 boarding homes in the cities of Ayacucho, Arequipa, Cusco, Huancayo and Lima (Breña and Rímac) as well as the Cusco Alto Andinas missions including Ampares, Calca and Quebrada Honda. At the Don Bosco Home, minors receive hospitality but also the opportunity to grow up in a familiar and cheerful environment where they can attend workshops, after-school courses and sports-related activities.

Recently, Salesian missionaries at the Don Bosco Home have developed a new music workshop that will provide both a cultural and psychological benefit. This program will help youth embrace their roots through the study of folk songs while supporting their psycho-physical well-being through music. Participating students will attend the course twice a week for two hours of lessons each session.

Traditional pan flutes in addition to triangles, wooden bass drums and modern musical keyboards will be utilized. The Don Bosco Home is in the process of raising funds to purchase the musical instruments (and is seeking donated instruments) in order to successfully launch the program.

“Given the struggles in many communities across Peru, many families turn to Salesian programs for safety, education and social programs,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Youth need opportunities for education as well as access to safe places to play and connect with adults and their peers. They need to have all of their basic needs met as well as the support required to allow them to focus on their studies and learn new skills.”

Peru faces high levels of income inequality and has more than 21 percent of its population living in poverty, according to the World Bank. Poverty levels are significantly higher in rural areas but urban areas struggle most with inequality, most notably metropolitan Lima. Poverty in the country is made worse by a shortage of productive farmland and a lack of job skills among women entering the workforce, adequate housing, nutrition and education. Peru has also been plagued by hunger and disaster. According to the World Bank, close to 25 percent of children in the country are chronically malnourished.

Salesian missionaries working in Peru have provided life-saving support and education to poor youth and their families for many years. They have also helped with rebuilding efforts after the 8.0 earthquake in August 2007 which killed more than 500 people in the central coastal cities of Chincha, Pisco and Ica and injured hundreds more.



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ANS – Peru – Growing up with music: the goal of the Salesians in Calca

Don Bosco Mission

World Bank – Peru

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