THAILAND: School celebrates 60th anniversary
Salesians focus on ensuring that poor youth have an opportunity to gain an education
(MissionNewswire) The Salesian-run St. Dominic Savio School in Bangkok, Thailand, recently celebrated its 60th anniversary of its foundation. To mark the occasion, Cardinal Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij, archbishop of Bangkok, presided over a solemn Mass, with Msgr. Joseph Prathan Sridarunsil, bishop of Surat Thani, and Msgr. Silvio Siripong Charatsri, bishop of Chanthaburi. Salesian missionaries and representatives of Salesian groups in Thailand also participated.
As part of the festivities, a theatrical performance of “A Moment to Remember: Once Upon a Time in the Heart” was held to convey the values of St. John Bosco and the Salesian education. Other activities included a short performance of the school’s history, tributes to supporters and benefactors of the educational center, and an afternoon basketball tournament.
“Salesians primarily focus on ensuring that poor youth have an opportunity to gain an education,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Education along with social programs in Thailand give poor and disadvantaged youth an opportunity for a brighter future.”
One of the best known programs is Don Bosco Technological College in Bangkok, which has been ensuring poor youth have access to advanced education since 1949. Its education programs allow youth to gain the skills needed to find and retain stable employment. To do that successfully, the college has developed partnerships that help train youth in employment sectors that need a skilled workforce and have the jobs available to hire youth right after graduating.
Thailand has shown considerable economic growth over the last 20 years, reducing its poverty rate from 21 percent in 2000 to 10.9 percent in 2018, according to the World Bank. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, caused a sharp rise in the country’s “targeted poor” (those who hold state-issued welfare cards) as noted by the Thai People Map and Analytics Platform. Close to 43,000 more people are classified in the country as poor according to the recent report. That brings the total to 1.03 million people in this target group.
Although the country has made strides in reducing poverty before the pandemic, improving nutrition and meeting the basic needs of its residents, inequality is still pervasive.
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Salesian Missions – Thailand
The Nation Thailand – Poverty Rates
World Bank – Thailand