MADAGASCAR: Salesian Missions donors help Salesian vocational training center graduates launch small business enterprise
The project is helping to train Salesian graduates and give them the support needed to open a construction business.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (March 14, 2019) Salesian missionaries in the Fianarantsoa region of Madagascar are able to assist 10 graduates of the local Salesian vocational training center in launching a small business enterprise thanks to Salesian Missions donors. The project will train the Salesian graduates in management, operations and the development of a plan to establish a construction business.
“We are thankful for our donors who are able to help these graduates realize a dream of starting their own business,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Graduates leave Salesian vocational training programs with the skills to enter the workforce. Those who have an entrepreneurial spirit are encouraged, through projects like these, to start businesses that meet a need in the local labor force. This ensures graduates are able to earn a stable income and help the community as well.”
In addition to providing business training and support, Salesian missionaries will work to connect the graduates’ new business with the community to help with the acquisition of customers. In the meantime, Salesian missionaries are employing them to repair and restore sections of the Salesian training center where they learned their skills.
Salesian vocational and technical training in Madagascar provides poor youth access to school while helping them gain the skills needed for later employment. Many students begin by attending Salesian rehabilitation centers where they have their most basic needs met including food, clothing and shelter, and then they enter either secondary or vocational school. The goal is for youth to grow into self-sufficient adults with stable employment who are utilizing the skills necessary to contribute to their families and communities.
Madagascar, an island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of East Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. Seventy percent of Madagascar’s almost 19 million people live in poverty with 5.7 million of those being youth between the ages of 10 and 24 years, according to UNICEF. This number is expected to double by 2025. Due to Madagascar’s poverty, geography and an ongoing political crisis, the country is ranked 158 out of the 188 countries classified by the 2015 Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Program. Women and children in the country are particularly vulnerable to the effects of poverty.
For close to 80 percent of the country’s inhabitants who live in rural areas and practice subsistence farming, living conditions have been steadily declining in recent years, particularly when it comes to access to transportation, health services, education and markets. Because of the lack of hygiene and access to safe drinking water coupled with chronic malnutrition, people in Madagascar often suffer from respiratory ailments, tuberculosis and hepatitis.
In order to help youth break the cycle of poverty and hopelessness, Salesian missionaries in Madagascar operate elementary, middle and high schools throughout the country. The focus of the schools is on providing educational opportunities, increasing literacy and laying a foundation for education well past the compulsory education required in the country. Access to education and training in social and life skills encourages graduates to find livable wage employment, breaking the cycle of poverty.
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