SENEGAL: Salesian Educators and Coaches Attend Real Madrid Foundation Socio-Sports Training Course
(MissionNewswire) The Real Madrid Foundation’s technical team recently made a trip to Senegal to provide a training course for Salesian staff based on its “They play, we educate” program model. The training, which was attended by 16 coaches and educators from Salesian-run socio-sports programs across Senegal, was held at the Don Bosco Kër Center in Dakar, the largest city and capital of the country.
Salesian programs in Senegal have a focus on sports education. Socio-sports schools in the cities of Dakar and Thies started their programs in 2012 and one in the city of Tambacounda has been in operation since 2010. The overall objective of the schools is to provide students between the ages of 5 and 17 with organized sports that promote positive values and teamwork. The sports programs are provided in addition to traditional vocational education programs and social development services.
During the Real Madrid Foundation’s training course at the Don Bosco Kër Center, Salesian educators learned sports techniques and advanced educational lessons. As part of the foundation’s “They play, we educate” program already operating in Salesian schools across the globe, participants receive nutritional, family and psychological support, regular health checkups and the opportunity to participate in social and educational workshops, gymnastics, crafts and reading and citizenship activities. Training sessions on topics such as health, hygiene, values and the prevention of alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse are also provided.
“Sports programs teach youth both on and off the field,” says Father Mark Hyde, the executive director of Salesians Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Learning and playing team sports encourages leadership skills as well as teaches youth to work as part of a team. Students also learn important social skills and have opportunities for growth and maturity.”
The Don Bosco Kër Center is one of the newest Salesian centers in Senegal and provides education, vocational training and apprenticeship opportunities to disadvantaged youth and women living in the Yoff district on the outskirts of the city of Dakar.
The center is part of an ongoing Salesian educational building project facilitated by Solidaridad Don Bosco, a non-governmental organization that is part of the broader Don Bosco Network in Spain. Salesian missionaries opened the new center in Senegal to address the high rate of unemployment and limited skilled labor among poor youth in the Yoff district. In addition to serving local youth, the center will focus on training Senegalese women who are often underrepresented in the workforce and lack educational and advancement opportunities.
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. According to the World Bank, that number has reached 86 percent.
“Salesians in Senegal have been providing vocational and technical training programs to local youth and women for many years,” adds Fr. Hyde. “The constant expansion of our programs is important to us and provides access to education to all youth who want to improve their quality of life.”
Chronic Poverty Research Center – Chronic Poverty in Senegal
World Bank- Senegal