Cooking up Hope for Lebanese Students
With unemployment nearing 22 percent among young adults in Lebanon, it’s difficult for the country’s youth to maintain optimism for their futures. In collaboration with expert Italian chefs, Salesian missionaries at Don Bosco Technique in Fidar aim to change this with a newly revitalized program that trains students in sought-after culinary skills.
“High-level training is one of the best ways to improve opportunities for marginalized youth around the world,” explains Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “In Lebanon specifically, our missionaries have offered courses in mechanics, electricity, hairdressing, computer science and many other job-ready disciplines for years. Now they see a new opportunity—and are seizing it.”
Noting an increasing demand for Italian cuisine among Lebanese restaurant patrons, staff at Don Bosco Technique cooked up a plan to teach future chefs the specialized skills needed to take advantage of this emerging employment opportunity. Recently, several masters of the culinary arts traveled from Italy to educate the school’s catering instructors in their craft. They also ran seminars and hands-on workshops on how to prepare pastries, bread and fresh pasta.
“As one of the area’s few professional training institutions, Don Bosco Technique is well positioned to address the problem of unemployment among young adults,” says Fr. Gus. “By responding to the needs of local businesses with innovative solutions like this, missionaries and staff are helping to pave the way for brighter futures for young men and women who otherwise may have struggled to stay in school or find jobs with decent pay.”
As many as 25 percent of Lebanese citizens live in poverty—and children born into poor families face disadvantages that are nearly impossible to overcome. They are less likely to complete their education, and as a result, have limited employment opportunities as they get older. Many end up stuck in low-wage, seasonal and high-turnover positions. Don Bosco Technique enrolls a significant number of marginalized young adults each term in order to help them beat the odds.
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Any goods, services, or funds provided by Salesian Missions to programs located in this country were administered in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.