PHILIPPINES: Youth take on environmental challenges
Salesian Youth Movement holds summer camp focused on environmental initiatives
(MissionNewswire) The Salesian Youth Movement, within the Salesian Southern Philippines Province, organized a summer camp inspired by the teachings of Pope Francis’ 2020 Laudato Si’, which underlined the importance of education and training that will help youth foster environmental responsibility.
The theme of the camp, “Salesian Youth Eco-Warriors: be the change!”, challenged youth to focus on their own environmental initiatives within their communities. The event was held at the Don Bosco Peace House in Mantalongon and was attended by youth from the districts of Cebu, Negros and Davao.
“Salesian missionaries around the globe have been launching environmental and sustainable projects,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “It’s important for youth to understand their environmental impact and the ways that they, their schools, families, and communities can work together to make improvements and focus on greater environmental change.”
Throughout the Philippines, Salesian missionaries offer a variety of educational and social development programs for youth. 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.
More than one-quarter of the population of the Philippines lives in poverty, according to UNICEF. Poverty is most severe and widespread in rural areas where 80 percent of the population — close to 88 million people — make their home. The poorest Filipinos are Indigenous populations, small-scale farmers who cultivate land received through agrarian reform, landless workers and fishermen. In addition, poverty rates are higher for women than men.
Illiteracy and high levels of unemployment contribute to the elevated poverty rate. With more than 11 million out-of-school youth in the country and dropout rates doubling as children reach secondary school, access to education becomes a critical step in breaking the cycle of poverty.
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Salesian Missions – Philippines
UNICEF – Philippines