INT’L DAY OF PEACE: Salesian Missions highlights life-changing programs
Salesian missionaries provide programs to youth regardless of gender, race or religion.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Sept. 21, 2022) Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins humanitarian organizations and countries around the globe in recognizing the International Day of Peace, observed on Sept. 21 each year. The United Nations General Assembly declared the International Day of Peace as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.
This year’s theme “End racism. Build peace.” focuses attention on tackling racism as a crucial way to contribute to fostering peace. The day highlights that we all have a role to play in achieving this endeavor.
The U.N. noted, “As conflicts continue to erupt across the globe, causing people to flee, we have seen race-based discrimination at borders. As COVID-19 keeps attacking our communities, we have seen how certain racial groups have been hit much harder than others. As economies suffer, we have seen hate speech and violence directed at racial minorities. We can work to dismantle the structures that entrench racism in our midst. We can support movements for equality and human rights everywhere. We can speak out against hate speech — both offline and online. We can promote anti-racism through education and reparatory justice.”
In a March 2022 statement, Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres said, “Racism continues to poison institutions, social structures and everyday life in every society. It continues to be a driver of persistent inequality. And it continues to deny people their fundamental human rights. It destabilizes societies, undermines democracies, erodes the legitimacy of governments, and… the linkages between racism and gender inequality are unmistakable.”
Salesian missionaries provide social development and educational programs around the globe to youth and families in poverty regardless of gender, race or religion. They are on the forefront of trying to level the playing field for poor youth so that they have the skills and supports needed to gain an education and the skills needed for future employment.
“Around the globe, Salesian missionaries are feeding malnourished families, rescuing homeless children from the streets, educating impoverished children and teaching youth the skills they need to have hope for a brighter future.” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “We are working to change their lives and their communities. Salesians also provide child rights training and life skills training to help ensure that youth understand their rights on their path to becoming fully contributing members of their communities.”
To mark International Day of Peace 2022, Salesian Missions is proud to highlight programs around the globe that provide life-changing education.
Women and children at the Mary Our Help Training Center Bellefonte, in Shillong, India, received support thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions. Donor funding provided a number of activities to support poor children and empower women.
The training center offers free tutoring and classes every day from 1 to 5:30 p.m. to help children with their studies. The young students who attend often have illiterate parents, lack working electricity at home, or are experiencing other family problems and need the extra support. After the tutoring and classes are provided, a meal is served for the children.
The center also provides scholarship funding for the poorest children in remote villages who have no other opportunity to attend school. Salesian sisters provided the financial means for these children to be placed in local schools and provide for their basic needs while in school.
Donor funding also provided a distribution of rice to 30 families that have elderly family members or mothers who are disabled and in need of help. Once a month, these families are able to come to the center and receive 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of rice to help feed them.
Youth attending the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center in Koko, within the Kebbi State of Nigeria, received scholarships thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions. The 150 students who received scholarships were selected based on criteria developed at the school.
Among the students were youth who were directly affected by bandit attacks, teenage girls who were about to be forced into marriage, youth from poor backgrounds, and orphans who lost either parent. Other students selected had not received any formal education and were willing to learn a skill.
After the students finish their education, the center has a job service office that will help them make good career choices. They will develop a plan, receive assistance applying and interviewing for jobs, and then transition into the workforce. The job service office will monitor their progress and assess them going forward to see their success.
Students at the Don Bosco Learning Center, within the Don Bosco Quetta community in Pakistan, have a new digital computer lab thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions. The center has been teaching primary and secondary school in Quetta since 2000. More than 780 students, ages 8-22, were positively impacted by this new lab.
The funding provided new computers, a projector, printers, a computer table, chairs, and Wi-Fi connection. Teachers are beginning to develop classes for Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop, networking, graphic design and web design.
The Don Bosco Learning Center is teaching computer literacy skills and technology to students. The lab will be used for daily classes for grades 3 to 10. In the evening, computer classes for other students and those in the community will be held. Salesians in Quetta also have a long tradition of assisting Afghan refugees. This project will also enable refugees to learn skills after they are settled.
Salesian Institute Youth Projects has been providing education, emotional support and skills development training for at-risk youth in Cape Town, South Africa since 1910. Over its history, the institute has been instrumental in changing the lives of hundreds of youth who would otherwise not have been able to access the job market. These youth had been homeless, unemployed and impoverished, but they had access to the education that helped them gain employment.
Committed to making a difference for those who need it the most, the institute’s skills development model focuses on providing opportunities for youth who may not have completed their mainstream schooling or access to skills training.
There are four main educational tracks youth. The “Learn to Live School of Skills” program caters to youth ages 14-18, who are no longer part of mainstream schooling. The four-year program provides basic education and vocational skills training. The “Waves of Change Maritime Program” is for youth or adults up to age 35 who want to work at sea in the fishing and maritime industry. The “Porsche Mechatronics Program” enables youth to work in the automotive sector, and the “NEETs Youth Employability Program” offers a national certificate in small venture creation for youth interested in entrepreneurship. Life skills training is also an integral part of the all the training programs.
Contact: [email protected]