Plumbing the Odds With Don Bosco
In Samoa, a significant number of rural residents struggle with wealth inequality, a lack of livable-wage employment, and gender-based job discrimination. At the Don Bosco Technical Center (DBTC) in Alafua, missionaries offer subsidized and free education to youth whose families otherwise could not afford it.
First established in 1989 to prepare young men between the ages of 16-22 for the local workforce, DBTC welcomed its first class of girls in 2020. Today, 180 students—its highest enrollment yet—train side-by-side in a variety of areas including carpentry, welding, sheet metal fabrication, auto mechanics, sewing and plumbing. DBTC provides both classroom and hands-on learning to ensure students are prepared for the workforce.
“Educational opportunities such as these are especially important for students who had previously been excluded from traditional school settings,” says Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “Without a second chance, these young men and women would have a hard time escaping poverty.”
The importance of this practical educational component is backed by research conducted by the Samoan Qualification Authority, which also found that the Don Bosco Technical Center produces the highest number of graduates who successfully go on to work in the private sector.
Farene is among 40 trailblazing young women who have recently enrolled at DBTC and she’s excited to be learning an in-demand trade that will help support her impoverished family. “Plumbing is my calling,” she says. She encourages young girls to be confident and take any opportunity to learn a viable job skill, be it plumbing or any other profession.
Our mission prepares marginalized young women and men with the skills they need to find decent jobs and live independently. What’s your mission?
Learn more about our work in Samoa.