SPAIN: Don Bosco Foundation Project is Helping Youth Connect in School and Excel
The Don Bosco Foundation Project, based at the San Isidro Salesian Institute in de La Orotava, Spain, has for many years carried out education and social development programs for young children and older youth, improving their lives and offering them a change at a brighter future.
In 2016, the Foundation helped more than 450 children and obtained access to employment for 80 older youth. The stories of how the program has helped youth in Spain show the real impact of the Salesian Foundation
Pablo (not his real name), five year’s old from Tenerife, is one young student who has benefited from the Don Bosco Foundation Project. When he first came to the Salesian program he did not talk to anyone and barely uttered a word. His mother had explained that he been the victim of violence, but after just three months in the program, he smiled for the first time. Now he has regained his speech and has integrated and participates in activities like all his peers.
The Salesian Foundation’s Second Chance Schools helps those students who have no job and no education to reconnect with education and support for a chance at better life. It targets youth 15 to 29 years old and offers them innovative training and practical experience in different industries business and supports specific individual needs of the participants in order to ensure that they remain in school and find employment.
Mary (not her real name) is 23-years-old and from La Orotava. She had no education and no job and was living in the house of her boyfriend’s parents together with her three-year-old daughter. Social Services sent her to the Don Bosco Project. There she began a training course and now she is working in a hotel.
Mohamed (not his real name), 25 from the Sahara, arrived as a child in the Canary Islands aboard a barge and lived for a time at the center for minors, but at the age of 18 he found himself living on the streets and ended up in trouble with the law. Eventually, he came to one of the Don Bosco Apartments, which provide shelter and education for youth. There he trained as a waiter and is now working as a waiter, with a permanent contract.
“All youth deserve a second change in life and to feel safe and a valued member of their community,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Students at the Don Bosco Foundation Project have a real opportunity to gain an education, connect with their peers, and gain the work and social skills needed for long-term employment.”
Hard hit by the current economic troubles in Europe, Spain now has the greatest inequality of the 27 countries of the European Union. According to the World Bank, close to 25 percent of Spanish workers are unemployed and a growing number of them can’t afford to buy enough food to live. One in five citizens is living below the poverty line and poor youth with too few employable skills struggle the most to find and retain stable employment.
World Bank – Spain