PHILIPPINES: Don Bosco Pugad Helps Troubled Youth Gain an Education and Long-term Employment
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries operate Don Bosco Pugad, a center for disadvantaged youth located on the grounds of the St. John Bosco Parish in Makati City, one of 16 cities that make up metropolitan Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Don Bosco Pugad provides social development and educational services to young men between the ages of 17 and 24 years who have either been in trouble with the law or are migrants in need of support.
Youth come from all over the Philippines to access the services provided by Don Bosco Pugad. They are referred by other religious, civic and lay organizations as well as by government organizations that work with poor and at-risk youth. Many of the Don Bosco Pugad participants were ineligible for services elsewhere but were extremely vulnerable to drug and human trafficking, sexual exploitation and child labor. Others came to the center after having been used as young combatants.
Don Bosco Pugad’s educational programs work to empower young men by training them in the technical skills necessary to find and retain stable employment and lead lives free from crime, poverty and exploitation. The center offers educational programs in electrical technology, welding, machinery and equipment installation, air-conditioning and refrigeration, automotive technology, water refill station management, baking, cooking and poultry and vegetable gardening.
In addition to attending classroom seminars, students have access to hands-on skills training and internships set up through Don Bosco Pugad and the local business community. Many of the young men who graduate from Don Bosco Pugad go on to find employment in companies across the Philippines as well as in international companies.
“Traditional classroom learning is an important part of any education program, and when students are able to take those skills and practice them in an interactive learning environment, there is added educational value,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian missionaries are preparing students for long-term stable employment while providing a steady workforce for growing industries in the Philippines.”
Sports and social activity programs and educational field trips offered at Don Bosco Pugad help youth develop socially, connect with their peers and learn practical life skills.
“Sports programs for youth teach valuable skills both on and off the field,” says Fr. Hyde. “Learning and playing team sports encourages leadership and teamwork. Students also learn important social skills and are given opportunities to grow and mature.”
Don Bosco Pugad is planning to expand its operations with the opening of a professional baking, culinary and agricultural school within four years. The goal is to provide advanced professional training to students who demonstrate an aptitude in these subject areas. Once the professional school is operational and has graduated students with advanced degrees, Salesian missionaries hope that some of those graduates will remain at the school to teach incoming students.
More than one year after Typhoon Haiyan (also known as Typhoon Yolanda) devastated portions of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, Salesian missionaries continue to work in the region to assist those who lost their homes and their livelihoods. While missionaries have successfully completed many community rehabilitation and rebuilding projects that have allowed survivors to return to their normal lives, there is still much work to be done.
Throughout the Philippines, Salesian missionaries offer a variety of educational and social development programs for youth, many with an emphasis on recreation and sports activities. The goal is to provide the opportunities necessary to gain an education and skills training to break the cycle of poverty and retain long-term employment.
Bosco News – Center for poor and needy migrant youth
UNICEF – Philippines