INT’L WOMEN’S DAY: Salesian schools and centers ensure educational equity
Programs developed specifically for young women and girls.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (March 8, 2023) Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins humanitarian organizations and countries around the globe in celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8. The day celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women while focusing the world’s attention on areas requiring further action.
Each year, International Women’s Day focuses on a theme, with this year’s theme being #EmbraceEquity. The theme calls for gender equity to become part of every society’s DNA and seeks to help forge worldwide conversation about this important issue and its impact. According to U.N. Women, equity “recognizes that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.”
Further, U.N. Women noted, “Forging gender equity isn’t limited to women solely fighting the good fight. Allies are incredibly important for the social, economic, cultural and political advancement of women.”
Salesian missionaries living and working in more than 130 countries are focused on achieving gender equity through programs targeted specifically for young women and girls. These programs strive to empower young women and girls by providing opportunities for education and training that lead to livable wage employment.
“Salesian missionaries provide programs that ensure girls and young women have equal access to education and the supports needed to graduate and find stable employment,” said Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions. “These programs work to help women achieve long-term self-sustainability and include nutritional and health services as well as workforce development activities.”
In honor of International Women’s Day, Salesian Missions is proud to share Salesian programs around the globe that empower young women and girls.
The Women’s Vocational Training Center, located in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, trains more than 300 young women each year in specializations like tailoring, hairstyling, fabric design and pattern making, computer maintenance, and secretarial work. The center, which provides inclusive, equitable and quality education, receives funding from Bosco Global.
Recently, the cutting-tailoring and hairstyling workshops were equipped with supplies, and the spaces for theoretical-practical courses were expanded. Refresher courses were also provided for the center’s teaching staff. In addition, students in extremely vulnerable situations were provided with the necessary kits to carry out their courses of study.
The Women’s Vocational Training Center was developed to address the precarious situation experienced by many women and girls. It includes literacy courses, support for work placement, and education in values and time management. The main objective of the project is to train women and girls so they can work and earn an income while breaking free from a life of poverty.
Young women in need of vocational training turn to Don Bosco Ngangi Youth Center in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo*, for courses at Salesian centers such as Maison Marguerite and Foyer Annuarite. Recently, 166 young women, including many single mothers, graduated from vocational training. More than 80 of them were trained in cutting and sewing, 49 as hairdressers and beauticians, and 33 in culinary arts.
International Voluntary Service (VIS) supported Salesian efforts to train young women as part of a project to eradicate forms of violence against adolescent girls and adult women in vulnerable situations as well as victims of conflict in Goma. Empowering women is only one step in the fight to end violence.
Don Bosco Ngangi Youth Center has been providing social development, medical, and educational services to poor youth and their families since 1988. Started first as a youth center, it expanded to provide assistance to those in the region affected by war, other violence and natural disasters. In 1997, the center added kindergarten, elementary, secondary and vocational education as well as a literacy center and medical facility. In the midst of wars, violence, and poverty, the center has welcomed, educated, cared for, and supported more than 26,000 children.
Fifty young women who live at the Salesian Surakshita Home, located in the town of Ravulapalem in Andhra Pradesh, India, were supported through donor funding from Salesian Missions. Surakshita Home provides living facilities for young women who have been in legal trouble. There are dorms, bathrooms, a dining hall, a work room and a training hall.
The funding, which provided support from March to October 2022, was used for empowering women with information about their rights, along with skills training in tailoring, Maggam and other handicrafts. Funds were also used for the purchase of training materials.
When young women enter the program, they are given clothing and proper nutrition. They are sent for a medical examination, and women with special health needs receive individual follow-up care. They are also able to access a counselor and legal support for their cases in court.
During eight months, 50 women completed the tailoring course and some found jobs at tailoring shops. Others were able to do dress making and embroidery work for themselves and for others. Twenty of the women were given tailoring machines to earn an income and sustain themselves.
Fifteen young women who are freshmen students at Don Bosco College, located in Canlubang, Philippines, have been awarded scholarships that will allow them to pursue their dreams of becoming skilled electrical technicians thanks to The Manila Electric Co. through One Meralco Foundation.
Each scholarship will cover tuition fees and allowances for students in the dual NC II program in electrical installation and maintenance and mechatronics. The scholarship program also provides a four-month on-the-job training for the students, who will be given the opportunity to join the Meralco workforce afterwards, according to the article.
This initiative falls under Meralco’s Gender Diversity and Inclusion Program called MBrace that aims to provide inclusive opportunities to empower women and increase the ratio of women in the company to 40 percent by 2030.
*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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