SENEGAL: Don Bosco Center Graduates 30 Young Men Prepared to Join the Workforce
(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Center in Dakar, the capital and largest city in Senegal, recently held a graduation for 30 young men finishing a two-year education program. These young men received a vocational education to prepare them for the workforce. Salesian missionaries, teachers and students all gathered to celebrate this important goal and achievement. Salesian volunteers with the International Volunteers for Development (VIS) awarded prizes to the graduating students who distinguished themselves for their commitment and behavior in order to encourage them not to give up and to continue to fight to create the future.
“Both VIS and the Don Bosco Center invest and work together so that youth are given an adequate vocational education that will enable them to work and contribute to the growth and development of their own country,” says Michel Metanmo, a VIS operator in Senegal. “The greatest example of the work we do is seeing the success of the students during their last year in school. Through them we see a drive to build on their achievement and to not give up and surrender.”
Prior to opening the Don Bosco Center, there were few places for disadvantaged youth to access the skills and qualifications necessary to develop a trade and gain stable employment. To address this need, Salesian missionaries are offering vocational training in tailoring, cooking, plumbing, construction and yarn dying. In addition to classroom training in these subjects, students have the opportunity to gain experience in local businesses where they will have access to hands-on training by professionals in their fields. In this way, students will be able to apply the lessons and skills learned in the classroom in a real working environment while also accessing social skills training to prepare for stable long-term employment.
VIS and Salesian missionaries at the Don Bosco Center are in the process of expanding its facilities. They will begin construction of the second floor of the school, which will include a better reception are for students as well as increase the number of classrooms available. Increasing the number of classrooms will also help increase the number and diversity of subjects that will be taught and available to students.
Located on the west coast of Africa, Senegal has close to half its population living in poverty. Crop failures due to extreme weather have impacted the economy and, combined with a recent ban on street beggars, has taken away the only source of income from many families. A recent report by the Chronic Poverty Research Center found that not only are 60 percent of households labeled “poor or vulnerable” but there is a possibility that the poverty will be passed on to the next generation. A sign of hope in the country is the steadily increasing percentage of children enrolled in primary school, which according to the World Bank has reached 86 percent.
Inequalities between men and women exist in the country with many women unable to access education or equal opportunities in the labor market. Women only represent 13 percent of all those employed. Contributing to the high rate of unemployment is a high rate of illiteracy among youth in rural areas, especially women and girls.
World Bank- Senegal