WORLD TEACHERS’ DAY: Salesian Missions highlights support for educators
Projects help teachers provide high-quality education.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Oct. 5, 2023) Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins humanitarian organizations and countries around the globe in honoring World Teachers’ Day celebrated each year on Oct. 5. The day honors the vital role that teachers play in the lives of their students. Since 1994, World Teachers’ Day has been held annually and commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has noted that the theme for this year’s World Teachers’ Day is “The teachers we need for the education we want: The global imperative to reverse the teacher shortage.” The theme focuses on the importance of stopping the decline in the number of teachers and then starting to increase that number at the top of the global agenda.
Salesian missionaries educate more than 1 million youth in over 5,500 schools and youth centers and nearly 1,000 vocational, technical, and agricultural schools in more than 130 countries around the globe.
“Teachers play an important role in the lives of poor youth in Salesian schools,” said Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions. “Their work is vital to their students’ success both in and out of the classroom. Teachers know Salesian students are facing more than just gaining an education. Some youth were previously living and working on the streets, and others have faced war as child soldiers or become refugees in war-torn communities. Salesian teachers meet these challenges head-on, providing education and hope for a brighter future.”
In honor and celebration of World Teachers’ Day 2023, Salesian Missions is proud to highlight the work of Salesian teachers and programs that support them around the globe.
Salesian missionaries with Don Bosco Muhazi Technical-Vocational School, in the Gasabo district in the Kigali province of Rwanda, and Father Pierre Célestin Ngoboka, provincial superior of the Salesians in the Africa of Great Lakes Province, inaugurated a new school building. Jean Michel Swalens, who represented the Belgian Embassy in Rwanda, local leaders, community members, teachers and students joined in the celebration as well.
Since the school was established, roughly 840 students have received certificates in courses including culinary arts, masonry, tailoring, and literacy and math programs.
The new building, constructed as part of the ACTEC 2022-2026 program co-financed with the Belgian Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, is equipped with all the necessary materials for students to take literacy and training courses. The new space also provides teachers with what they need to provide high-quality education.
A new computer lab will enable students to develop vital digital skills and enhance their computer literacy, preparing them for future careers in the technology-driven world. The building also has office spaces. The staff room will serve as a dedicated space for the local ACTEC project coordinator and local job service officer who helps connect students to the job market.
Salesian Missions Australia has begun a campaign to support the work of teachers in Samoa. Teachers and schools in the country lack resources to assist them in educating students. The campaign to “Sponsor a Teacher, Educate a Nation” raises funds for resources, materials and training required for teachers to provide high-quality education for youth.
As part of the campaign, a video series has been produced. The first in the series features two young Salesian brothers discussing their lives and their role as educators. The video is available on YouTube. In the video, Brother Damien Taofinuu, religious education teacher at Don Bosco College and Educational Center Salelologa, said, “The thing I love most about teaching is that when I’m teaching, not only am I educating the students, but I am learning something from them. Every day is a new experience and I learn something from it.”
Salesians in Samoa are committed to ensuring they are able to continue to provide quality education to poor and at-risk youth, and the schools are an important part of the community.
Nearly 70 teachers gathered in León and Mohernando in Guadalajara, Spain, for new teacher training. In León, the meeting was led by Irune López, provincial coordinator for orientation, and in Mohernando, by Óscar Bartolomé, provincial coordinator for schools. Teachers who had not been able to participate in past training due to the COVID-19 pandemic also joined.
The training was divided into four sessions: a Salesian house that welcomes, a playground where one can be with friends, a parish for those without a parish and a school that prepares for life. These sessions help to educate new teachers on the Salesian preventive system of educating youth. Organizers created the sessions based on the educative and pastoral nature of Salesian schools and to strengthen the identity of Salesian educators both in knowledge and in attitude.
Salesian missionaries have also been working for many years to provide educational and workforce development opportunities for poor youth and women in Spain through residential, technical, and vocational training programs.
Coaches and educators from the Real Madrid Foundation’s socio-sporting schools in Tanzania received training in soccer, basketball and values during in-person sessions facilitated by the foundation. Since 2019, 180 youth from Don Bosco Oysterbay Vocational Training Center in Dar es Salaam have received values-based training through sport thanks to a partnership between Real Madrid Foundation and the Salesian Missions Office in Madrid.
The partnership has 21 projects in 14 countries and serves nearly 4,000 children each season, using educational sport and its values as a catalyst for the social betterment of youth and communities. The partnership began in 2010 at a Salesian school in Senegal and continued to schools in Central and South America. The first social-sports school was in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The summer training sessions combined soccer and basketball and served to reinforce the participants’ knowledge of the Real Madrid Foundation’s educational philosophy and methodology “For a REAL education: values and sport.” Both the Real Madrid Foundation and the Salesians are aware that sports are important for social integration and the promotion of values like teamwork, communication, respect, and team spirit.
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