High-Tech Hopes for Students in Cameroon
Since 1992, Salesian missionaries in Yaoundé, Cameroon have been providing traditional and technical education for marginalized youth. Today, for the first time, students enrolled in computer science classes at Don Bosco College are learning their coursework on new, up-to-date computers, thanks to the generosity of our many friends.
This Salesian college, which opened in the Mimboman Don Bosco community this past academic year, joins a secondary school, vocational training center, and youth oratory. Because many residents participate in the area’s notoriously exploitative informal economy, missionaries focus on programs designed to elevate students’ prospects for sustainable employment.
Nearly 40 percent of Cameroon’s 23.7 million people live below the poverty line, explains director of Salesian Missions Father Gus Baek, “which means many parents lean on their children to help support their families. But the money these children earn barely covers the cost of daily food. Without education, breaking that endless cycle of poverty is impossible.”
That’s why missionaries in Yaoundé focus on making educational opportunities more broadly available for impoverished students. More than 500 youth are enrolled at Don Bosco College, and the computer science course is popular. Still, students lacked access to the most current technology until Salesian Missions donors stepped in. Now, in a dedicated lab with 55 new computers, students can “be properly trained, just as they deserve,” says Father Sabé José Maria. “They are excited, and we are thrilled!”
Further, these students can take advantage of the college’s job-placement office, which fosters and maintains internship opportunities with private companies in need of skilled labor. Once graduates begin working, program staff will maintain contact and offer ongoing support to ensure their long-term success.
“Opportunities like the computer science course at Don Bosco College are a hallmark of Salesian-run professional training programs around the world,” says Fr. Gus. “Because Salesian missionaries live in the communities where they serve, they understand the area’s unique market conditions, and work to match vocational training with employer needs. We are incredibly grateful for our many kind friends who share our vision to prepare marginalized youth to live and support themselves as independent adults.”
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