GLOBAL DAY OF PARENTS: Salesian Missions highlights programs around the globe that support parents through education and social development services
Programs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India and Spain illustrate the work of Salesians that support parents in playing a critical role in their children’s lives.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (June 1, 2020) Salesian Missions joins humanitarian organizations and the international community in celebrating Global Day of Parents, which was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012. The day, celebrated each year on June 1, honors parents throughout the world and provides an opportunity to appreciate all parents for their commitment to children.
The UN indicated, “Emphasizing the critical role of parents in the rearing of children, the Global Day of Parents recognizes also that the family has the primary responsibility for the nurturing and protection of children. For the full and harmonious development of their personality, children should grow up in a family environment and an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding.”
In addition, the UN noted, “Family-oriented policies can contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 1 to 5 relating to doing away with poverty and hunger; ensuring healthy lives and promoting of well-being for all ages; ensuring educational opportunities throughout the lifespan and achieving gender equality.”
“Supporting parents is essential to helping youth stay in school and focus on their studies,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “While our primary focus is on education, we also aim to provide wrap around services that help youth and their families lead healthy and productive lives.”
In honor of the Global Day of Parents, Salesian Missions is proud to share some of its programs around the globe that provide education and support for parents and their children.
The Don Bosco Center, located in the city of Bukavu in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is supporting women who wish to join women’s groups run by the Association Villageoise d’Epargne et Crédit (AVEC), an association for savings and credit in the villages. Since July 2018, the Don Bosco Center has helped create 20 groups of women, mostly mothers.
Every week, the women deposit 1,000 to 5,000 Congolese Francs (CF), which is roughly 60 cents, into the group’s safe, in addition to depositing another 200 CF in the solidarity fund. After a few weeks, the group members can apply for credit and receive up to 10,000 CF to help in situations of necessity such as the birth of a child, an illness or a death in the family.
The women in the groups often have great ideas and projects, but they need help to start or strengthen their activities. Many of the mothers live in difficult situations and have problems related to their children’s health, food and school. Recently, 100 mothers and a few fathers were selected to receive a small financial contribution from the Don Bosco Center. This will allow them to start an income-generating activity and work on becoming self-sufficient. The candidates selected are all in serious need of additional assistance.
As a result of rampant poverty, child abuse and exploitation, and high incidences of child labor, many poor youth in India face psychological and emotional difficulties. Often, parents are unable to deal with these problems at home so turn to school staff and teachers for extra support.
Don Bosco’s Prafulta Psychological Services was started in 1998 and provides psychological evaluation and diagnosis, professional counseling, career guidance, remedial education, psychiatric services and occupational therapy. The organization’s psychologists and other professionals offer these services to individuals, groups and families to help aid independent functioning and improve quality of life.
The Don Bosco Teacher Training Program in Remedial Education, which Prafulta Psychological Services began offering in May 2014, aims to empower teachers, school counselors and parents by giving them the information and the know-how to effectively help children with varying needs and disabilities in mainstream schools. For more advanced training, Prafulta offers a certificate course in educational counseling enabling practitioners to understand children’s difficulties in both educational and emotional areas.
At the beginning of the new academic year, Salesian centers in Spain launched the Enredados campaign, an initiative of the Spain-St. James Major Salesian Province that helps families look at safety while online.
The campaign aims to address questions for parents, including: What are youth doing online all that time? What are they looking for in social networks? Are they making good use of technology? How and why should they be in that digital environment?
The Enredados campaign offers a series of tools for parents to talk about topics at home with their children as well as to provide them with education about the internet. The first educational course of the campaign focused on privacy. The next will focus on healthy habits for using the internet, along with using information and communication technologies while helping youth
avoid addiction. The last educational course of the campaign will look at the nexus between personal relationships and virtual relationships.
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