REPUBLIC OF CONGO: New Building at Don Bosco Vocational Center to Increase Student Admission
(MissionNewswire) In early March, the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center in Pointe-Noire, the second largest city in the Republic of Congo, inaugurated a new building that will allow for increased student admission. The new building is part of a project focused on the promotion of vocational training for disadvantaged youth that will train 3,000 students from the cities of Pointe-Noire and Brazzaville over the next four years.
Beginning in May 2014, the project aims to create awareness among youth and their parents of the importance of vocational training, improve access to vocational training by improving facilities and infrastructure and improve the skills of educators to better prepare students for the workforce.
“One of the key challenges facing youth in the Congo is the lack of education and the skills required to find and retain stable employment in the labor market,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian missionaries provide youth access to education and training opportunities they would not have otherwise with a focus of the training being to prepare students for the workforce. Salesian programs offer a seamless transition from the classroom into employment.”
Started in 1991, the Don Bosco Vocational Center provides vocational education in industrial electricity, carpentry, motor mechanics, welding and general mechanics. Graduates are provided a certificate of completion and provided assistance in finding employment. The center has 25 educators who teach classes and provide support to students.
“Salesians missionaries have been providing vocational and technical training programs to local youth and women for many years,” adds Fr. Hyde. “The constant expansion of our programs is important to us and provides access to education to all youth who want to improve their quality of life.”
The Republic of Congo’s population is concentrated in the southwestern portion of the country leaving the vast areas of tropical jungle in the north virtually uninhabited. One of the most urbanized countries in Africa it has 70 percent of its total population living in a few urban areas. In recent years, industrial and commercial activity has declined rapidly in rural areas leaving rural economies dependent on the government for support and subsistence.
According to Rural Poverty Portal, poverty has worsened in the Republic of Congo since the 1980s resulting in half the country’s population living below the poverty line. Close to 65 percent of the country’s poor live in rural areas where nearly 50 percent of the population is unemployed with little access to education or long-term stable employment.
Most living in rural areas are small-scale farmers or fishermen with those most vulnerable to living in conditions of poverty being young people and women who are the primary agricultural producers and processors. While more than 75 percent of people living in urban centers have access to water, access drastically decreases to 11 percent in rural areas. In addition, more than one third of children under age five that live in rural areas suffer from malnutrition.
Rural Poverty – Republic of Congo
Salesian Missions – Congo video
*Any goods, services, or funds provided by Salesian Missions to programs located in this country were administered in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.