Transformative Opportunities In and Out of the Classroom
According to the Human Development Index, Timor-Leste ranks 133 out of 188 for life expectancy and standard of living. Salesian missionaries had already been working hard to improve these outcomes by providing more access to education overall. But now, they’re expanding on the life-changing opportunities of going to school with a new practical internship program.
“The bedrock of Salesian education has long been vocational training,” says Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions. “By learning job-ready skills for in-demand professions, marginalized youth can open new doors into financially stable futures—which improves their prospects for better health and well-being. That’s why, in addition to traditional primary and secondary schooling, our missionaries in Timor-Leste have offered practical training opportunities to hundreds of students in recent years and are seeking to expand this effort.”
At the Don Bosco Technical School in Fatumaca, for instance, 250 students are learning the skills they need to find long-term employment in the fields of carpentry, mechanics and electronics. The complex also includes a successful agriculture school with programs reaching into 15 surrounding villages.
And at the Don Bosco Agricultural College in Fuiloro, youth can study agriculture, veterinary science, or fishery management. In an effort to further bolster their students’ real-world knowledge and confidence, missionaries recently added an internship program that bridges the gap between classroom learning and hands-on experience. Further, these internships each include a sustainability component to empower participants to envision, implement and steward best practices that benefit humans, animals and the planet.
The first group of interns, whose placements are located in Dili, Baucau and Lautém, will complete their three-month training periods this month.
“It’s thrilling to think about the positive changes these students can make once they graduate,” says Fr. Tim. “Not only will they improve their own futures, but they will be capable of leading their country’s transformation as well—in ways that benefit their communities for later generations.”
Learn more about our work in Timor-Leste.
Our mission expands access to education so at-risk youth can build brighter futures for themselves, their families, and their communities. What’s your mission?