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PHILIPPINES: Students at Don Bosco Agro-Mechanical Technology Center have access to new farm training and equipment for crop production thanks to Salesian Missions donors

(MissionNewswire) Salesian Missions donors are ensuring that students attending the Don Bosco Agro-Mechanical Technology Center (known locally as Don Bosco Legazpi), located in Banquerohan, Legazpi City, Philippines, have the training and equipment needed for a new soybean production program. Don Bosco Legazpi is a technical vocational school offering skills training and a farm development program for youth to help them achieve self-sufficiency.

“We appreciate the funding our donors provided that is enabling students to be trained and have the proper equipment necessary for the new soybean production program,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Don Bosco Legazpi was specifically opened to provide technical farming education to poor youth with scarce resources, and instruct them in the practical skills of farming to allow them to earn a living and give back to their communities.”

Salesian missionaries launched Don Bosco Legazpi in 2000. The school consists of an Agricultural Technology Center and an adjacent Don Bosco Demonstration Farm. The technology center educates 170 rural youth each year and the farm helps more than 2,000 young graduates embark on their own farming cooperatives.

The Agricultural Technology Center offers its students an opportunity to combine theory with practice through its hands-on approach. Students use the skills they learn in the classroom by putting them directly to work in the fields that are part of the center’s farm. They are taught theoretical and practical courses in greenhouses, growing vegetables, cereal crops, gardening, breeding, animal husbandry and veterinary sciences as well milk, cheese and dairy products.

The Don Bosco Demonstration Farm allows graduates and their families to use the land to organize small cooperatives and assists them with sourcing microfinancing, farming assistance and the marketing of their agricultural products.

The goal of Don Bosco Legazpi is to provide young farmers with a basic education as well as advanced studies in the latest agricultural practices and modern technologies while moving toward efficiency in farming by exploring and testing new techniques in agriculture, horticulture, floriculture and animal husbandry. Salesian missionaries hope the agriculture program will entice more local youth to choose agriculture as their long-term livelihood. With a long history of providing agricultural education, missionaries currently operate more than 90 agriculture schools around the world.

Since 1950, Salesian Missions has been providing crucial help in the Philippines—working with at-risk youth, impoverished families and disaster victims. Humanitarian agencies warn of the dangers faced by the most disadvantaged children in the Philippines. According to UNICEF, there are at least 1.2 million children between the ages of 5 and 15 who are out of school and are being left behind. In addition, children born into the poorest 20 percent are almost three times more likely to die during their first five years as those from the richest 20 percent.

Salesian missionaries, supported by funding from Salesian Missions, were on the forefront of disaster relief during reconstruction after the Nov. 8, 2013 Super Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) devastated the country. According to United Nations estimates, 11.5 million people were affected by Haiyan and close to 1 million were displaced. More than half a million were homeless and living in the streets among the debris. Salesian missionaries mobilized all resources and efforts to aid the victims of this and other disasters.

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Sources:

Salesian Missions

UNICEF – Philippines