INT’L DAY OF EDUCATION: Salesian Missions highlights educational programs for poor youth around the globe
Programs focus on access to educational opportunities that match the local employment needs.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Jan. 24, 2022) Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins humanitarian organizations and countries around the globe in honoring International Day of Education celebrated Jan. 24 each year since 2018. The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed International Day of Education in celebration of the role of education for peace and development.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) noted, “Today, 258 million children and youth still do not attend school; 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic math; less than 40 percent of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school; and some 4 million children and youth refugees are out of school. Their right to education is being violated and it is unacceptable.”
The 2022 theme for the day is “Changing Course, Transforming Education” and builds from UNESCO’s global Futures of Education report, which highlights that “transforming the future requires an urgent rebalancing of our relationships with each other, with nature as well as with technology that permeates our lives, bearing breakthrough opportunities while raising serious concerns for equity, inclusion and democratic participation.”
Salesians provide primary and secondary schools and are considered the largest private provider of vocational and technical training in the world. Programs focus on helping vulnerable youth by providing access to educational opportunities that match the local employment needs. Around the globe, there are nearly 1,000 Salesian vocational, technical, professional and agricultural schools—with a focus on serving poor and needy youth.
“Although we provide a range of programs and services, education is always our primary focus,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “At Salesian schools, children gain an education, prepare for the future, and participate in sports and other activities—all in a safe environment that encourages learning and growth. The goal is for youth to be able to gain an education, find stable employment, and help support their families and communities.”
In honor of International Day of Education, Salesian Missions is proud to highlight educational programs that benefit youth around the globe.
The Don Bosco Industrial Technical Institute in Antofagasta, Chile, launched the Carlo Acutis Multimedia Studio. At age 15, Acutis was an amateur computer programmer best known for documenting Eucharistic miracles around the world and cataloging them onto a website which he created before his death from leukemia. The new multimedia center is ensuring communication technologies are available for education.
The new facilities have a television studio for the production of academic programs and newer initiatives. In addition, facilities can be utilized for the creation of musical albums and rehearsals for the school’s instrumental orchestra.
Don Bosco Industrial Technical Institute provides education to youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Antofagasta region is known as the “mining capital of the world.” Families are often poor and struggle to send their children to school. Currently the school has an enrollment of 1,200 students. Students can take coursework in areas such as metalworking and electricity, automotive mechanics, industrial mechanics, and electronics.
Two graduates of the Don Bosco College of Engineering, located in Fatorda in the Indian state of Goa, have successfully turned their academic project into the start-up business known as Jatvam Abhiyaantrix Private Limited. Shivdas Gaad and Rajat Halarnekar, working under the guidance of Professor Suraj Marathe, created the Glusher 1.0, a glass crusher that can turn glass into powder.
The glass crusher is capable of crushing bottles, tube lights, glass and more. The machine has a three-phase, 3HP motor that powers it. The operator feeds the scrap glass via the hopper, which crushes the glass. The powder is collected in the collection bag to minimize the physical handling. The machine has a glass crushing capacity of approximately 150 to 200 kg (330 to 440 pounds) per hour.
Gaad and Halarnekar were able to start their company with the help of Goa State Innovation Council and Don Bosco College of Engineering’s Forum for Innovation Incubation Research & Entrepreneurship (FiiRE). This department within the college has helped 75 startups over the last two years.
The ApiCultura project in Lombriasco, Italy, was established in October 2020 from a collaboration between Net4Grow, a network of Salesian agricultural schools, and the Salesian Agricultural School in Lombriasco. The aim of the project was to bring beekeeping back to the Salesian Agricultural School while safeguarding the species and educating on the importance of care for the environment.
After 10 months, the first training course finished and the first yield of honey was extracted. Students had the opportunity to complete their training by actively participating in a course for beekeeping operators, which was organized and implemented by the Agripiemonte Miele Producers Association in Turin. Students were able to put their classroom learning into practice when they were involved in the first honey extraction.
The project is now exploring the collection of data with the use of the ground air sensors supplied by X-Farm. The environmental data outside and inside the hives will be evaluated and compared with other biodiversity data. This data will help to drive different pollination and production phases. The information from this project will also be shared with Net4Grow so that other Salesian agricultural schools can learn from the experience and create training programs locally based on best practices.
Salesian missionaries have developed the St. Joseph’s Farm, in Sagamu, Nigeria, thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions. The farm is a center for training, research and production on 25 hectares of land acquired by the Salesians. Forty farmers received training in better methods of crop production to help improve production and revenue. A piggery and fishery were also constructed with this funding.
St. Joseph’s Farm assisted mostly poor women, young girls and unemployed youth from the local area and provided training and hands-on help with farming techniques. In addition, the project helped small farmers develop skills to manage their farms for increased productivity, self-employment and sustainability.
With a population close to 256,000, including a mix of Christians, Muslims and traditionalists, Sagamu is known for its agricultural products such as cocoa and kola nuts. The region’s rich vegetation and large masses of unoccupied or unused land attract people who develop an interest in agriculture. Yet, the region has high rates of unemployment and underemployment, as well as a low rate of formal education.
Contact: [email protected]