UKRAINE: Oratory to provide educational support
Salesian missionaries aim to open oratory alongside Vsesvit school in Zhytomyr
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries have been operating the Vsesvit School in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, for the past two years. The school was established thanks to several Italian benefactors in response to the local community need to open a Christian school. Zhytomyr has close to 300,000 residents and is 68 miles west of Kiev. Salesians now want to open an oratory to operate along with the school to help youth with after-school activities and educational support.
The goal is to first open the oratory to the more than 200 students who attend the school and then open activities to youth who live in the local community. Youth who attend the oratory will be able to access educational support, entertainment, and ways to connect with their peers through sports and games.
To launch the new oratory, Salesians are in need of the materials and supplies to make it successful. One Salesian explained, “There is a need for a little bit of everything. Work in the chapel, balls, sports uniforms, tents for summer camps, dishes, games and more.”
Salesian missionaries first arrived in Ukraine in 1936, and remained there for 10 years, until they were forced to leave the country for political reasons. They returned in the 1990s after the fall of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe, and today they have eight centers. The main focus is on education, but Salesians also augment this work through oratories and vocational and technical training for older youth who graduate from primary and secondary school.
According to the Child Poverty Report launched by UNICEF and Ptoukha Institute for Demography and Social Studies, together with the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, children in the country are more likely to live in poverty than adults. The poverty rate among families with children is higher than in families without children—47 percent versus 34 percent. Poverty rates are also highest in large families with three or more children, and children in the youngest age groups are most impacted.
Because of these difficult economic conditions, youth often struggle to afford to continue their education. Those who do often find it challenging to find work without the appropriate skills and necessary connections. The area has a great need for reliable technical education and employees who possess technical knowledge and skills. Realizing this, Salesian missionaries work to make education equally available to all students, especially those in need such as orphans and youth from families with many children, broken families and rural areas.
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