Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: January 24, 2024

INT’L DAY OF EDUCATION: Salesian Missions highlights life-changing educational programs for poor youth

Salesians considered largest private provider of vocational and technical training in the world.

NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Jan. 24, 2024) 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 on Jan. 24, recognized since 2018. The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed International Day of Education as a celebration of the role of education for peace and development.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) noted, “Without inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all, countries will not succeed in achieving gender equality and breaking the cycle of poverty that is leaving millions of children, youth and adults behind. Today, 250 million children and youth are out of school, and 763 million adults are illiterate. Their right to education is being violated and it is unacceptable. It’s time to transform education.”

Salesians provide primary and secondary schools, and they are considered the largest private provider of vocational and technical training in the world. Programs help 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.

“Education provides a path out of poverty,” said Father Michael Conway, director of Salesian Missions. “Salesian education provides youth a chance to learn fundamental skills that will help them later in life. Many students advance from secondary school into Salesian vocational and technical training, which gives them the skills for long-term stable employment. It’s the way youth become self-sufficient and productive members of their communities.”

In honor of International Day of Education, Salesian Missions is proud to highlight educational programs that benefit youth around the globe.


Salesian missionaries in Machala, Ecuador, provide technical education for at-risk young people from low-income sectors in the city. Salesians also supported 20 small family business initiatives to improve the living conditions of the beneficiaries. The project was supported by the Salesian Mission Office in Madrid, the ADEY Foundation and the Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Ecuador.

The goal was to reduce poverty by strengthening technical skills and promoting family and entrepreneurship for young people ages 18 to 35. Courses focused mostly on young women who are migrants, mainly from Venezuela, and Ecuadorian citizens experiencing social exclusion, including single mothers and economically dependent women. With lower levels of education, these young women face the greatest barriers to accessing training and employment.

Education included courses in gastronomy, cosmetics and cell phone repair, which were held at three different times. Each course included 108 hours of face-to-face lectures on technical topics, 12 hours of lectures on peace culture, entrepreneurship, and business models, and 24 hours of hands-on individual work that was done at home. A total of 218 students participated in the courses, with 68% of the students women and 32% men. Of the students, 56% were from Ecuador and 44% were migrants.


The Salesian Center in Ibadan, Nigeria, has a new computer lab thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions. The project known as “Provision of Vocational Skills for Young Girls & Boys for the Improvement of Livelihoods” has provided 31 desktop computers, six laptops, software, computer tables and chairs, among other items.

Salesians established the center in 2002 to offer poor youth educational and social services. Today, the center has the Institute of Philosophy with 200 students, a youth center that is visited by 500 youth each day, an oratory where 100 youth visit each day and a child protection home with 40 children. Salesians also offer an outreach program where street children who cannot be accommodated in the child protection home are able to visit for support and assistance. More than 1,000 youth have sought help through the outreach program.

Prior to the donor funding for the project, the center only had four computers available for all of these youth in addition to teachers, staff and Salesians. The new computer lab will accommodate more youth and allow them to learn digital skills for employment.


Six students who attend Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati City, Philippines, were supported with their education thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions. Five of the students are in the automotive program while the sixth student is taking the fitter machinist course. The students have completed their coursework and advanced to hands-on training with their graduation in September 2023.

Don Bosco Technical Institute was established in 1971 to provide poor and underprivileged youth with the skills training to find and retain employment. Today, the institute teaches close to 800 students in courses including automotive, machine shop, electrical and electronics, and printing.

The institute has also developed long-term partnerships with organizations that help ensure students are able to access on-the-job training and find employment once they graduate. Partnerships have been developed with Ford and Porsche, among others.

Students enrolled in the Porsche program complete a 10-month basic training course that includes both theoretical and practical training at the Don Bosco Technical Institute where Porsche has set up and equipped a dedicated training facility. During the program, students undergo advanced Berlitz-administered language lessons in English and Spanish, as well as training in customer service.


Salesian Institute Youth Projects, located in Cape Town, South Africa, is taking a pivotal role in developing programming for youth ages 18 to 26 who are neither employed, engaged in education nor receiving training. Salesians empower youth by reintroducing them to learning, nurturing entrepreneurial skills, and providing valuable exposure to real workplace experiences.

The NEETs program combines essential life skills training with vocational skill training. Youth are selected from specific disadvantaged communities within the greater Cape Town area. This strategic choice is intended to foster social change within these communities, creating a ripple effect.

Youth are in the program for 12 months covering three learning modules of life skills and fundamentals such as language and math, an internship in social enterprises, and workplace learning within a partner organization, allowing them to gain practical experience in their field.


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