ROMANIA: Salesian Center Don Bosco launches project to provide needed furniture for youth center and boarding homes
(MissionNewswire) The Salesian Center Don Bosco, located in the city of Constanța on the shores of the Black Sea in southeastern Romania, is committed to providing social services for children and offering assistance to those in need. Directed by Salesian Father Sergio Bergamin, the center facilitates educational and recreational activities as well as offers supportive assistance for parents, legal guardians and all those who help take care of children.
Salesian missionaries note that there are nearly 1,000 children abandoned due to poverty in Romania. In response to this crisis, Father Bergamin has launched a new initiative to help poor families in the region. The initiative will raise funds to purchase beds and mattresses for two Salesian family houses and for a Salesian boarding school as well as desks and chairs for after-school activities that take place at the Salesian Day Center.
The Salesian Center Don Bosco includes a youth center which offers daily after-school activities for 80 youth from the local Salesian primary and middle school as well as offers vocational training for older youth. The local Salesian community has two family houses which host 18 abandoned children and a boarding home for children between the ages of 13 and 18 who are attending the local Salesian school. These children need to live on campus because the distance from the school to their homes is too far to travel.
It has been several years since the Salesian Center Don Bosco launched new initiatives in support of youth who live in Constanța. The goal of the new initiative is to ensure that youth have the furniture they need to both study and sleep. Encouraged by the Archbishop of Bucharest, Msgr. Ioan Robu, to start programs in the region, Salesian missionaries have been working in Constanța since 1996. Since then, missionaries have worked to ensure that local youth living in marginalized communities have the education and social programs needed to gain the skills required for future employment and self-sufficiency.
“Youth in Romania are already attending school under challenging circumstances so ensuring they have a proper school and home environment is important,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Desks and chairs help to provide a more dignified and organized educational environment for students to complete their studies. Beds and mattresses ensure youth are able to get the proper rest each evening. As a result, students are often more focused on classroom work and more prepared for their lessons.”
According to the Brookings Institute, more than 25 percent of Romania’s population lives on less than $5.50 a day. The country has the highest poverty rate in the European Union with most of its poor living in rural areas which have remained disconnected from economic growth. Brookings notes that 40 percent of Romanians do not work while another 28 percent live off subsistence agriculture.
One in five people living in rural areas lack access to potable water and a third live without access to a flush toilet. The Roma, a minority group within the country, face especially difficult circumstances and have an employment rate of just 28 percent and a poverty rate approaching 70 percent.
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Brookings Institute – Romania