Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: May 15, 2024

INT’L DAY OF FAMILIES: Salesian Missions highlights programs that support families

Salesians work with families to provide education, meet basic needs.

NEW ROCHELLE, NY (May 15, 2024) Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins humanitarian and other international organizations in honoring the International Day of Families celebrated each year on May 15. The day is organized by the International Federation for Family Development in partnership with SOS Children’s Villages International and in collaboration with UNICEF and the Division for Social Policy and Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. This year is the 30th anniversary of the day.

Salesian missionaries around the globe provide for youth and their families who are facing challenges related to poverty, lack of education, hunger, and homelessness.

Father Michael Conway, director of Salesian Missions, said, “While education is our focus, we know that children cannot thrive in an unstable family environment. Children facing abuse, lack of food or no parental support struggle in their studies. This is why Salesians work with families to provide education, meet basic needs, and offer wrap-around support services to ensure that the family has what they need to meet the physical and emotional needs of youth.”

In honor of the International Day of Families, Salesian Missions is proud to share Salesian programs that provide education and services to support poor youth and their families.


The Salesian Youth Missionary Project in Brazil provides volunteer opportunities for people ages 17-30. The project is carried out in the Salesian parishes of São Joaquim, Nossa Senhora de Fátima and Nossa Senhora da Conceição. A similar volunteer project for older adults, known as the Adult Missionary Project, takes place in the Salesian Nossa Senhora Auxiliadora Parish.

Between these two projects, volunteers have made over 2,000 visits to the cities of Missal and Ponta Grossa in the Paraná state and Pouso Redondo and São Joaquim in the Santa Catarina state.

During recent missionary activities, 100 volunteers visited several families to provide support. Volunteers met with residents to help address shortfalls in their basic needs and living environments.

A Salesian noted, “By engaging in volunteer work, youth have the opportunity to cultivate empathy, develop leadership skills and gain a deeper understanding of the world around them. Through these visits, youth were not only helping others, but they were improving themselves with better social skills and self-esteem and increased happiness.”


Salesian missionaries at Don Bosco Shasha, Don Bosco Ngangi Youth Center and the Salesian Industrial Technical Institute in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo*, are continuing to provide support for those who have been internally displaced in the country. Conflict has left more than 6.2 million people displaced across the provinces of Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu and Tanganyika, according to UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency.

As a result, the Nyiragongo Territory, bordering the city of Goma, has welcomed thousands of those who have been internally displaced. Many are in the Kanyaruchinya Internally Displaced Persons camp. There has also been serious fighting in Masisi territory, where the towns of Kitshanga and Mushaki have fallen under M23 control. Rutshuru and Masisi are the main sources of food for the city of Goma, and as a result food prices are very unstable. Also, due to the vast numbers of displaced people, several other camps have sprung up. The situation has stressed humanitarian organizations that are already overstretched with their resources.

There are more than 25,000 families living in the camps at Kanyaruchinya, Don Bosco Ngangi, Don Bosco Shasha and Bulengo. Salesians are working to collaborate with other partners to better coordinate interventions at the local level. Many households in the various camps rely on the assistance of the Salesians, who provide food to displaced families as well as spiritual support.


Don Bosco Muhazi Technical-Vocational School, in the Gasabo district in the Kigali province of Rwanda, is offering an agricultural course for young single mothers living with their parents. The goal is to empower women and help provide support for the most vulnerable. The project also aims to strengthen gender equality in education and in the agriculture business.

There are 25 students enrolled in the initial phase of the course, which will last an estimated six months. Most are from the Gasabo and Gicumbi districts. Students will receive a kit to attend the course, which contains overalls, shoes, hoes, rakes, spades, sprayers, soaps and seeds for cultivation.

The students will learn how to prepare the fields for planting bananas, tomatoes, peppers and onions. They will also learn about animal husbandry.


The Salesian Thailand Planning and Development Office provided bags of food to 120 poor working families from Burma, Laos and Cambodia, as well as people with disabilities. This distribution was part of the “Share Love at Christmas” project at the end of 2023.

A Salesian noted, “The families live in the area of the parish of Mary Help of Christians, mostly comprising of Muslims and Buddhists. The food parcels were prepared by the church youth group and were received with appreciation and gratitude. This was a wonderful way to give back to our community and ensure people have the nutrition they need.”

Salesian missionaries provide education and social programs in Thailand to give poor and disadvantaged youth an opportunity for a brighter future. One of the best-known programs is Don Bosco Technological College in Bangkok, which has been ensuring poor youth have access to advanced education since 1949. Its education programs allow youth to gain the skills needed to find and retain stable employment. To do that successfully, the college has developed partnerships that help train youth in employment sectors that need a skilled workforce and have the jobs available to hire youth right after graduating.

*Any goods, services, or funds provided by Salesian Missions to programs located in this country were administered in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.


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