INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ERADICATION OF POVERTY: Salesian Missions highlights educational initiatives that help break the cycle of poverty
Programs in Ethiopia, Guatemala, Lebanon and Myanmar illustrate the work of Salesians around the globe that support this year’s theme, which is focused on empowering all to end poverty.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Oct. 17, 2019) Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins humanitarian organizations and countries around the globe in honoring the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty held on Oct. 17 each year. This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) that took place on Nov. 20, 1989. UNCRC is a landmark human rights treaty that sets out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of every child, regardless of race, religion or abilities.
This year’s theme, “Acting together to empower children, their families and communities to end poverty,” focuses on the eradication of poverty as a basic human right. The United Nations notes, “Poverty hurts children’s development and, in turn, leads to lower income and health in adulthood. When child poverty is recognized as a denial of children’s human rights then people in positions of responsibility and power are legally bound to promote, protect and fulfill children’s rights. Above all, it is imperative to recognize and address the specific discriminations experienced by the girl child.”
Through education and social development programming, Salesian missionaries in more than 130 countries around the globe work to break the cycle of poverty and bring a sense of dignity to all those they serve.
Whether it’s combating child labor, assisting homeless youth or building schools where children previously had no access to education, Salesian missionaries are on the front lines ensuring those in need have access to programs and services. Working in more than 5,500 Salesian educational institutions and youth centers around the globe, missionaries educate children in some of the poorest places on the planet.
“Education is a primary pathway out of poverty, and we work to ensure that all children have access to a solid educational foundation,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions. “Salesian educational programs provide youth the education and technical training skills they need to prepare for employment and have productive lives while becoming contributing adults in their communities. These programs go beyond educating. They also assist youth with making connections within industries and preparing them for the process of searching, finding and retaining employment.”
In honor of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Salesian Missions is proud to highlight initiatives that help to break the cycle of poverty for youth and their families.
The Bosco Children Project, located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, rescues children from the dangers of the street. The project provides support and educational services in addition to an outreach orientation center and a hostel for youth. Most of the youth are boys who are orphaned or live on the street.
The Bosco Children Project utilizes a three-step method for rehabilitation, including making the initial contact with the children on the streets and building a relationship in an informal manner. This includes offering youth safe accommodation at the hostel where they can access meals, warm clothing, psychosocial counseling, and basic education and literacy classes.
When children are ready, and if they choose to, they are invited to formally take part in the next part of the program, which includes personalized care through counseling and specialized skills training, such as in auto mechanics, carpentry, culinary arts, metallurgy, leather craft and more.
Once training is complete, the project provides financial and career placement assistance, supporting the youth as they move on to become independent.
The Don Bosco Center, located in Tzacanihá, near San Pedro Carcha, Guatemala, has been welcoming children and youth from Raxruhá and the nearby city of Chamelco for 37 years. Father Antonio De Groot, founder of the center, lived and worked in Raxruhá before launching the center. This remote area, found at the edge of the forest, was almost inaccessible and had no basic services.
The people in the region lacked basic education and lived primarily off the land. The Don Bosco Center features beautiful and functional buildings and green areas. Salesian missionaries working at the center educate more than 1,500 students across three locations. The Don Bosco Center has been a true educational revolution within this geographical location.
The ability to attend formal schooling has highlighted the young students’ intelligence and attentiveness, their great desire to learn and their boundless energy. Many students who have succeeded in graduating from the Don Bosco Center have gone on to higher learning at the university level and are now working as professionals.
The Don Bosco Technique, located in Fidar, Lebanon, is one of the area’s few professional institutes and welcomes a large number of youth who have difficulties attending school. The goal is to provide them education and social supports so they remain in school and gain the skills needed for employment.
The Don Bosco institute offers several different programs for youth including mechanics, electrical installations, hairdressing, computer science and much more. One of the institute’s most praised and sought-after programs is focused on training catering and hotel staff students. There is a large employment sector across the world for graduates who want this kind of employment.
In order to implement the restaurant and catering program effectively, Salesian missionaries in Fidar asked for help from highly-qualified Italian chefs. The chefs’ primary objective is to refine the skills of the institute’s teachers in the field of Italian cuisine and gastronomy—much in demand in Lebanese restaurants.
The Italian chefs are also holding seminars and workshops for the preparation of bakery products, pastries and fresh pasta. These bakery courses provide specialized training for students. The ultimate goal is to equip students with highly employable skills in the workplace.
Salesian missionaries are working in Myanmar to bring a variety of education-based initiatives to poor youth and their families. In cities and remote villages across the country, Salesian missionaries and sisters, living and working in the region, are also making a significant contribution by offering community programs that reach beyond education.
The Don Bosco Friend Youth Center in the city of Mandalay plays a major role in keeping youth away from paths that lead to the juvenile penitentiary systems by providing them with a safe haven of shelter, nutrition and education. The center was developed to help youth who are living on the streets access services and education.
The facility, which operates 24 hours a day, is directed by Father Peter Myo Khin along with six paid staff members. It provides temporary shelter, food, health care, and formal and non-formal education. Close to 30 boys, aged 4 to 18, live at the center permanently while dozens more access services on a drop-in basis.
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