TOGO: At-risk youth prepared for school year
Don Bosco Immaculate Child Protection Center provides educational and social programs for street children
(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Immaculate Child Protection Center in Kara, Togo, was created in 1985 to provide shelter and support for street children. The aim was to help engage them in productive activities to deter them from delinquent situations. The goal was to also facilitate social and family reintegration. The street children, between the ages of 5-17, come from towns and villages in Togo.
In August, students took part in educational classes during the school break to help prepare them for the school year. Each morning, primary and high school students took courses at Don Bosco College and High School. These courses included math, written and spoken expression, civic and moral education, history, geography, English and French language, and philosophy.
Students also engaged in socio-educational activities in the afternoon. This included sports and activities that help youth express themselves artistically. With the collaboration of the educators and volunteers, youth acquired physical, moral and psychological skills through activities which promote their full development.
The center also hosted a digital and creative workshop focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to help students in these subjects and motivate them to learn.
This workshop was organized by youth from EDU Association of Togo, led by the Binary’Hub company. The theme was “Give young people a taste for initiative and creativity, openness to the world of work.” The workshop focused on three objectives, equipping youth from disadvantaged backgrounds to embrace professional careers through practical training, fostering creativity and divergent thinking alongside core disciplines, and providing knowledge that will facilitate a successful transition into the labor market. There were prizes and certificates at the end of the workshop.
In Kara, many youth do not have access to education, and youth unemployment is very high. Most young people have unskilled jobs and precarious working conditions, which makes them even more vulnerable. Salesian education is sometimes the only education they are able to access to become productive members of their community.
“Salesian missionaries play a vital role in their communities helping to provide support and assistance to at-risk youth and those in need of an education,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Activities like the Don Bosco Center is facilitating encourage youth to gain an education in order to find stable employment. They are then able to support themselves and give back to their families and communities.”
More than 80 percent of Togo’s rural population lives in conditions of poverty making the country one of the world’s poorest, according to UNICEF. Children in the country suffer the most, with close to 50 percent of those living in poverty under the age of 18. One in eight children will not reach their fifth birthday and the number of children who drop out of school because their parents cannot afford to educate them is high. Children are also often forced to work in exploitative and dangerous conditions to help support their families.
Photo courtesy of Don Bosco Child Protection & Youth Empowerment Projects
Don Bosco Child Protection & Youth Empowerment Projects Newsletter July – Sept. 2022
Salesian Missions – Togo
UNICEF – Togo