SPAIN: Salesian Students Restore Used and Broken Bicycles to Provide to Poor Youth
(MissionNewswire) For the fifth consecutive year, students at the Salesian Intermediate School in Elche, a town located in the region of Baix Vinalopó, Spain, have held a workshop to restore bicycles for youth in need. This year’s project was named “Bicycle Solidarity 5.0” and was facilitated by Dr. Pedro Moreno who teaches fundamental education in vehicle maintenance at the Salesian school.
He is responsible for the coordination of this project, which enables a group of children and older youth without resources to receive donated bicycles that are in good condition. The first step of the project was to facilitate a campaign to collect used and broken bicycles from local area residents. The school advertised the project through its networks with the support of the community.
“The students who collect the bicycles also repair them,” says Dr. Moreno. “The work involves sanding the damaged and rusted parts, repainting, oiling the chain, repair and replacement of damaged components, and in general a total repair, both mechanical and aesthetical. The work is carried out in our laboratories and is part of the curriculum of the different training modules.”
The bikes are then delivered by the students to people who may need them, mostly children and young people. In recent years, the project has delivered more than 160 bicycles to other community programs like the Red Cross, nursing homes in Elche, shelters, orphanages and schools.
“This is a great project for the local Salesian students who are able to utilize the skills they are learning in class while giving back to their community,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “The people in the community are able to use these bicycles for recreation and transportation to and from school and work. Salesian students are also learning how to learn to work together while putting their training to good use.”
Spain, which has been hit hard by the current economic troubles in Europe, 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. Poor youth with few employable skills struggle the most to find and retain stable employment.
Salesian missionaries in Spain have been working for many years to provide educational and workforce development opportunities for poor youth and women through residential, technical and vocational training programs.
World Bank – Spain