SOUTH SUDAN: Former refugee lands dream job
Young refugee graduate of Don Bosco Technical School now a driver for the United Nations in Juba
(MissionNewswire) Gladys, who was a widow and mother at 25, recently landed her dream job as a professional driver at the United Nations in Juba, South Sudan. She credits her time as a refugee and her Salesian education for her advancements. Gladys was forced to flee from her home and seek refuge at the Palabek Refugee Settlement Camp in Uganda.
As a refugee, Gladys attended the motorcycle repair course at the Don Bosco Technical School in Palabek. She was the only woman among many men. Gladys said, “I don’t care that they’re all men. I want to learn how to repair motorcycles to avoid danger when I return to South Sudan.” She rode a motorbike home to South Sudan to see her son who was with his grandmother.
To attend the class, Gladys had to get up at dawn and walk nearly four miles every day to get to classes on time. She was part of the first class of graduates at the Don Bosco Technical School. While studying, Gladys used her small sewing machine to earn money for traveling on weekends. When she finished her lessons, her commitment and her involvement led her to take care of the materials warehouse of the technical school. Thanks to the support of Salesian missionaries and the Salesian organization Jóvenes y Desarrollo, Gladys was also able to learn to drive a car and obtained her license.
Recently, she passed a driving test for the U.N. office in Juba and was hired. Gladys was so overjoyed by her accomplishment she returned to Palabek to thank Salesians for the educational opportunities they have given her. Her next challenge is to continue studying and ensure that her son can have a better future and live in peace.
The Palabek Refugee Settlement Camp is currently home to 56,000 people. It was officially set up in April 2016 to reduce congestion in larger refugee camps in the northwestern corner of Uganda. Several agencies are involved in providing food and education within the settlement.
Salesian missionaries at the settlement are offering much needed psycho-social support and pastoral care for thousands of Christian residents. They also operate four nursery schools that educate more than 1,000 children. In addition, there are over 700 children attending Salesian primary and secondary schools and more than 700 families that are supported by various other initiatives.
Young refugees are also able to attend vocational training courses for free. Depending on the discipline, some courses will run for three to six months while others will run as long as a year. Salesian missionaries have also set up a job placement office that will help students make contact with companies that are hiring, prepare resumes and prep for interviews, and find internships and onsite training opportunities.
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Salesian Missions – Uganda
Salesian Missions – South Sudan
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