SAMOA: New School Science Lab Brings Students Better Educational Opportunities
(MissionNewswire) According to the World Bank, Samoa boasts one of the most stable and healthy economies in the Pacific region. The poverty rate, once just over 25 percent, has dropped closer to 20 percent as the country strives to meet the UN Millennium Development Goals (a blueprint to drive efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest).
Although Samoa has made impressive progress in social development, many rural communities in the country lack access to opportunity and grapple with an unequal distribution of wealth and benefits. Poorer communities in remote parts of the islands are particularly vulnerable, especially in areas most likely to be affected by cyclones or other natural disasters. Gender inequality is apparent as women strive and often fail to find the same work and income opportunities as men and youth find it increasingly difficult to find livable wage employment in the country.
Salesian programs in Samoa are working to provide youth with an education and training as well as the necessary resources to find and keep employment. Don Bosco High School and Vocational Center at Salelologa is one of the newest of the many Salesian educational facilities that have been serving Samoans for more than 25 years.
The Salesian Province of Australia formally opened the Don Bosco High School and Vocational Center at Salelologa on the island of Savai’i in 2011. Currently, close to 120 students are enrolled there, most of whom come from local subsistence farming families. The school operates both a traditional academic high school program and a vocational training center.
This past year the school made some significant improvements to its science laboratory. The laboratory is now equipped with furniture, newer tables, chairs and lab equipment, all improvements that will help students in their studies while creating new educational opportunities through hands-on learning and lab experience. In addition, construction of a septic tank for the disposal of chemicals and the installation of additional electrical outlets for student use were completed.
“The Salesians in Samoa work directly with poor and disadvantaged youth to provide hope for a positive future through education, training, sporting, recreational and cultural activities,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Having a local presence in communities and seeing the issues residents face firsthand helps the Salesians to adapt their programs to meet each communities’ individual needs. This is one of the reasons the Salesians are so successful in helping youth break the cycle of poverty.”
As Don Bosco High School and Vocational Center at Salelologa continues to grow, the Salesians seek out new ways to improve the educational experience of youth attending their programs. The next task is a continued fundraising effort to purchase a school bus that will provide transport for students to and from the distant villages where they live.
World Bank- Samoa