Mohamed’s Second Chance
In Tanzania, 69.7 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, including Mohamed. After struggling in school, Mohamed was forced to drop out and work on the streets selling second-hand items to support himself. Then he discovered the renewable energy training program offered at the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center in Dodoma. Mohamed will graduate soon and plans to start his own business as a technician in the renewable solar energy field.
Mohamed’s future easily could have gone in the other direction. He hadn’t been a successful student in primary school, which disqualified him from attending a government-funded high school. In order to help his parents pay for a private education, he had to work—which led to missing classes and ultimately failing in school.
“Without an education, youth in Tanzania can’t escape their generational poverty,” explains Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, who visited the center in Tanzania this past February. “And when they’re poor, they can’t afford the education they need. Mohamed didn’t experience the same opportunities that his more fortunate classmates did, because he had to spend so much time away from school in order to pay for it. It’s a vicious cycle our missionaries see over and over again in poor communities around the world.”
Thanks to training that the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center in Dodoma provides, Mohamed is one of many students who now have a new chance to earn a steady income. Founded in 1982, the center is among the oldest training institutions in Tanzania and provides services to 1,700 students per year.
The center boasts spacious classrooms; however, there is no communal gathering space, which means that many events such as graduations, youth recreational activities and meetings must be held outside. And, because most tent services will not provide adequate accommodations during extreme heat or storms, these events have had to be postponed during inclement weather.
Thanks to generous Salesian Missions donors, the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center in Dodoma will soon have a new multi-purpose hall. “We appreciate this outpouring of generosity, which will help build a much-needed space for students and school activities,” said Fr. Gus. “Not only will the new hall serve an important educational function, but—because the school will no longer have to pay rental fees for tents, and can rent the space to outside parties once it’s safe to do so—it will also help raise the revenue needed to support programming and sustainability.”
Although he will graduate before the multi-purpose hall is built, Mohamed feels eternally grateful to the Salesians, and the life-changing opportunity that the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center in Dodoma has provided. In addition to his practical education, he was able to participate in crucial life skills training which improved his social skills and will help him succeed in his professional life.
“I am happy and really appreciate the Don Bosco training,” he says. “I was able to discover my true vision to be a solar energy technician.”
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