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RWANDA: Education benefits young mothers, at-risk youth

Salesian missionaries launch tailoring programs to help young single mothers


(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries launched projects for young single mothers and at-risk youth in Rango, within the city of Butare, Rwanda. The projects have the support of Mission Don Bosco in Turin, Italy.

To date, 40 young mothers have taken training to learn tailoring skills. They have also received a sewing machine and some essential materials to start a simple tailoring or sewing business that will provide an income for their families.

The rate of teen pregnancy has been growing in recent years and is beginning to create a major obstacle for social and economic development in the country, especially among the population’s poorer segments. An unmarried young woman who becomes pregnant is excluded from society, leaving them alone, vulnerable, and facing financial, social, and health difficulties.

Father Remy Nsengiyumva, the parish priest in Rango, noted, “Many girls drop out of school due to poverty and unwanted pregnancy. To help them and their children, Salesians initiated the two-year tailoring training program at the Vocational Training Center. The new program offers entrepreneurial training and provides a basic took kit so participants can start an income-generating business. The center also offers courses in construction, carpentry and welding.”

Through the “Tomorrow Will Be Better” program, Salesians have also been able to support 120 at-risk children and youth who had run away to live on the street. Social workers were able to understand why they ran away from home and help them reestablish a relationship with their families. Salesians distributed clothes, hygiene kits and food. In addition, peer groups were organized to support youth in building relationships. Through this effort, 89 youth enrolled in elementary school, 20 in secondary school and 11 in vocational training.

After bravely overcoming the trauma of the 1994 genocide, Rwandans looking to transform their country have made remarkable progress. Still, much remains to be done. Close to 39 percent of Rwandans live in poverty, according to the World Bank. Rwanda is a rural, agrarian country with about 35 percent of the population engaged in subsistence agriculture with some mineral and agro-processing. Many of the country’s orphaned children are the tragic result of a violent civil war. Half of all children drop out of primary school and 2.2 million people — 22 percent of the population — face critical food shortages.



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