REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO: Salesian Missions donors provide funding for several infrastructure improvements at Salesian schools
(MissionNewswire) Salesian Missions donors recently supported several infrastructure projects in the Republic of the Congo. These projects included the installation of critically needed security walls around the Holy Spirit Catholic School and the Saint Pierre Catholic School, both Salesian schools within the Catholic Diocese of Pointe Noire.
The new security wall at the Holy Spirit Catholic School helps protect the more than 600 students and staff from dangers in the surrounding community. The Saint Pierre Catholic School has been plagued by acts of vandalism and violence causing damage to the school property and threatening the safety of its students, faculty and administration. The new security wall is helping to protect the property and the well-being of the more than 400 students and staff at the facility.
At the Saint Jean Baptiste Catholic School, also in Pointe-Noire, donor funding is bringing electricity to classrooms and an administrative building. These upgrades will expand the hours of operation at the primary and secondary school and enable technology to be incorporated into programs. The school operated without lighting before the project and is finding that the new electricity greatly enhances the learning environment.
“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, 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 to prepare students for the workforce. Thanks to our generous donors who have funded infrastructure improvements that are essential to the quality of education provided.”
The Republic of the 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 the 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 5 that live in rural areas suffer from malnutrition.
Rural Poverty – Republic of the Congo
*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.