TOGO: Spanish Solidaridad Don Bosco completes project supporting the Salesian-run Mother Margherita House in Lomé
(MissionNewswire) The Spanish Salesian-run Solidaridad Don Bosco has been supporting ongoing projects in Togo. The organization launched a project in January 2018 focused on providing support and assistance to children at risk of social exclusion. The project, which was recently completed, provided upgrades and support to the Salesian-run Mother Margherita House in Lomé, the capital city of Togo.
Included in the project was the construction of a well and water tank at the Mother Margherita House to improve water access and the fencing in of a horticultural area. In addition, the project provided funding to support the education of 30 girls as well as training for the education staff, including 12 interns, who help run the program.
Joseph Olipoh, an educator at the Mother Margherita House said, “The support and training for educators was very useful, as was learning about the psycho-social development of children and how to educate them according to their age.”
Another educator at the program, Akouvi, noted, “The children have many emotional needs. It is not enough to love. We must make them feel that they are loved because when they feel loved, they open their hearts to tell you everything that happened to them and what leads them to do inappropriate things.”
Salesian programs in Togo provide participants a place to live, nutritious meals and counseling along with education and job skills training. The goal is to help youth develop a sense of hope for their future and learn the skills necessary to lead independent, productive lives.
“Education has proven to be an effective means of breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty while giving the most vulnerable youth a sense of personal dignity and self-worth,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Training that helps educators is critical to ensure that they have the skills needed to teach children who are most in need of an education. Teachers must not only learn how to teach a specific subject, they must also learn how to deal with children who are coming from very difficult and complex situations.”
Father Hyde added, “When children have a strong educational foundation, they can move on to vocational and technical training programs that help them become contributing adults in their communities. These schools go above and beyond educating. They also assist youth in making connections within industries while preparing them for the process of searching, finding and retaining employment.”
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 in order to help support their families.
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UNICEF – Togo