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UKRAINE: Don Bosco Youth Educational Center Helps Provide Students Technical Skills for the Workforce

(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries have been living and working in Ukraine well before the conflict started. One of the programs they operate is the Don Bosco Youth Educational Center, which is a modern vocational school and educational complex that includes an academic building, workshops, canteen, library, gym and an athletic field. The Salesian Educational Center has a piece of land of that is 7,273 square meters and has a paved yard, paths, green lawns and places of leisure for students and guests.

In 2014, the World Bank noted that just more than 25 percent of those living in Ukraine live in conditions of poverty. But that number increased dramatically due to a struggling economy and high cost of living. In 2016, nearly 60 percent of the population in Ukraine lived below the poverty line, according to data of the M.V. Ptukha Institute of Demography and Social Surveys, the National Academy of Science of Ukraine. Political instability and an ongoing economic crisis has contributed to the surging poverty rate.

The war in Donbass is currently costing Ukraine 5 million dollars per day according to the International Business Times and reported in Borgen Magazine. The conflict in the eastern region of Ukraine exploits the country’s vulnerable economic situation and undermines the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) which serve as a poverty-reduction guide for Ukraine.

Because of these difficult economic conditions, youth often struggle to afford continuing their education. Those that do often are challenged to find work without the right skills and connections. The area has a great need for solid technical education and potential employees that possess these knowledge and skills. That is why Salesian missionaries at the Salesian Educational Center try to make technical education equally available for all students, especially those in need such as students who are orphans, from families with many children or broken families, and youth from rural areas.

“Salesian schools, services and programs throughout Ukraine are helping to break the cycle of poverty while giving youth hope for a more positive and productive future,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian vocational and technical schools equip students with the skills they need to compete in the local labor market by offering courses that lead to employment in industries and businesses that are hiring.”

The Salesian Education Center offers specialized technical training in cooking, bartending, food service and industry, secretarial, computer operators, hair stylists, carpentry, tailoring and sewing. In the next few years, the school plans to add an auto mechanic specialization program. Most of the students at the school are 14 to 18 years old. Currently, the school has 68 students with 16 students who cannot afford the tuition and room and board fees at the school. Salesian missionaries pay for those students who cannot afford to attend but are looking additional financial support for the next school year.

The Salesian Educational Center is one of the best values for education in the local area. It is also the most comfortable for students. The canteen offers healthy and delicious food that is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner for students. Students who cannot afford it are provided special e-cards so they order without having to pay.

“Through our many programs, Salesian missionaries offer vulnerable youth the best educational and work opportunities to help them break the cycle of poverty and have hope for a brighter future,” adds Fr. Hyde.



Borgen Magazine – Poverty in Ukraine: War and Economic Crisis Delay Progress

EADaily – Over half of Ukraine’s population lives below poverty level