TOGO: Vulnerable youth gain life skills
Don Bosco Immaculate Child Protection Center provides education and support to youth
(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Immaculate Child Protection Center in Kara, Togo, organized training courses for vulnerable and at-risk youth to help them prepare for the future. The goal is to provide skills training in areas that will benefit them later in life. Training was offered in cooking, information technology, agroecology, and making artisanal crafts, soaps and chalk.
“Skills training for employment is important but so is teaching youth general life skills,” said a Salesian missionary at the center. “We want youth to find their bearings and learn about the world around them. We teach good manners and a whole host of other life skills to ensure youth are ready for life beyond the center.”
Don Bosco Immaculate Child Protection Center was created in 1985 to provide shelter and support for street children. Salesian missionaries help engage them in productive activities to deter them from delinquent situations. Salesians also facilitate social and family reintegration.
The center provides support for youth between the ages of 5-17 who come from towns and villages in Togo. The youth live on the streets or are in conflict with the law, victims of early marriages, or orphans. While at the center, they attend primary, middle and high school. The center also provides trade courses for older students, which include carpentry and automobile mechanics.
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.
At the center, youth can receive help with their homework or tutoring if they are struggling with a school subject. The center also provides educational talks every Friday evening. During these sessions, youth have the opportunity to learn social skills for better engaging with peers, adults and their community.
Youth also have a chance for recreational activities and socialization through oratory activities that take place twice a week. Youth play soccer and engage in dance therapy, do-it-yourself projects, theater, and board games. Other youth from the community also participate in these activities and connect with youth from the center. This helps with socialization and integration into the local neighborhood.
More than 80% 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% 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 AOS Province
Child Protection and Safeguarding Centers April – June 2023 – Page 21
Salesian Missions – Togo
UNICEF – Togo