Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: August 12, 2022

Lighting the Way Forward in Benin

Child trafficking is a daily fact of life in Benin. Some are unsuspecting victims of broken trust. Others are betrayed by staggering poverty. All are abused, exploited and lacking hope. At Foyer Don Bosco in Kandi, Salesian missionaries are lighting the path forward through rehabilitation and education.

“Some parents entrust their children to craftsmen so they can learn a trade, only to discover much later that they are treated like slaves,” explains Father Aurélien Ahouangbe, who serves in Benin. “Other times, parents force their children to work in order to help the family, or even sell them out of desperation. The common denominator is that none of these children go to school.”

This creates a heartbreaking cycle. Already one of the world’s poorest countries, with over 70 percent of the population suffering its devastating effects, Benin’s only hope for transformation is widespread education. But children can’t access it when their families can’t afford it. And when their parents can’t afford it, children can’t escape poverty—one of the root causes of trafficking.

This is one of several reasons Foyer Don Bosco exists. Created for children with nowhere else to turn, this residential program serves boys and girls in extremely complex situations. Education is a top priority, and staff also provide essential services including daily meals, clothing and medical care to support their success in the classroom. Some children complete their basic education on site or in local schools, while others participate in vocational training. All residents receive psychological support and safety from the violence of exploitation.

Currently, 40 youth ages 5-15 live at Foyer Don Bosco, which relies heavily on donations to cover costs. Recently, compassionate friends of Salesian Missions helped fund a nutrition program, purchased medicine for the infirmary, and provided start-up toolkits for ten recent graduates who are beginning their careers in the trades.

In Benin and the more than 130 other countries where our Salesian missionaries serve, brighter futures truly start with you.

Learn more about our work in Benin.

Our mission educates exploited youth so they can break the chains of poverty forever. What’s your mission?

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