“Sewing” Brighter Futures for Themselves
Around the world, the roots of gender inequality are firmly planted in educational disparities and the lack of employment opportunities for girls and young women. In order to weed out this injustice—and “sew” the seeds for a brighter future—Salesian missionaries in the Republic of the Congo have launched a new skills training program.
“When women learn a profession, and can apply what they’ve learned toward earning an income and supporting themselves and their families, they claim a valuable role—both at home and within society as a whole,” explains Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “That’s why our missionaries seek opportunities to support this goal through expanded access to innovative educational initiatives whenever and wherever they can.”
The new program, offered through the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center on the outskirts of the capital city of Brazzaville, enrolls single mothers, young women who have previously left school, and other marginalized students in a dressmaking course that includes both cutting and sewing classes. The participants will also learn entrepreneurial skills and receive small business start-up support at the end of the course.
“This support will help participants gain an important leg up on earning an income and achieving financial independence,” says Fr. Gus, “which then allows them to make sound, healthy choices for their futures.”
First established in 1992, the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center serves nearly 600 youth each day, many of them from local working-class neighborhoods in and around the capital. In addition to the dressmaking course, the school also offers two- and three-year professional programs that prepare students to work as electricians, auto mechanics, welders, carpenters and HVAC technicians.
“In a country where more than half the population lives in poverty, educational opportunities like these are crucial for youth,” says Fr. Gus. “When they graduate with employment-ready skills, they are empowered to change the trajectory of their futures. And we’re proud to offer the same access to these opportunities for both young women and young men.”
Our mission helps girls and young women learn valuable skills for future employment through equal access to education. What’s your mission?