INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY: Salesian Missions highlights technical and vocational training programs that enable youth to find employment and have hope for the future
Programs in Morocco, Nepal, Philippines and Tanzania illustrate the work of Salesians around the globe that support this year’s theme, which is focused on transforming education.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Aug. 12, 2019) Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins humanitarian organizations and countries around the globe in recognizing International Youth Day. Celebrated each year on Aug. 12, International Youth Day was established by the United Nations to raise awareness of issues affecting young people around the world.
The theme of International Youth Day 2019 is, “Transforming education,” and highlights efforts to make education more relevant, equitable and inclusive for all youth, including efforts by youth themselves. International Youth Day 2019 will examine “how governments, young people and youth-led and youth-focused organizations, as well as other stakeholders, are transforming education and how these efforts are contributing to the achievement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
The UN notes that only 10 percent of people have completed upper secondary education in low income countries and more than 75 percent of secondary school age refugees are out of school. They go on to highlight that “indigenous youth, young people with disabilities, young women and young people belonging to vulnerable groups or in vulnerable situations are facing additional challenges to access education that respects their diverse needs and abilities as well as reflects and embraces their unique realities and identities.”
Working in more than 132 countries around the globe, Salesian missionaries are regarded as the single largest provider of vocational and technical training in the world. They offer more than 1,000 vocational, technical, professional and agricultural schools around the globe. This training gives youth the practical skills to prepare for employment while helping them to lead productive lives and become contributing adults in their communities. These programs go beyond educating. They also assist youth with making connections within industries and preparing them for the process of searching, finding and retaining employment.
“We know that access to education lays the foundation for a better future for all youth,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions. “In many countries where poverty is high and access to education is not universal, it is crucial that Salesian missionaries offer technical and vocational training to as many youth as possible to ensure that they have access to long-term stable employment.”
In honor and celebration of International Youth Day 2019, Salesian Missions is proud to highlight Salesian vocational and technical training and workforce development programs for youth.
More than 60 poor and migrant youth are receiving free vocational training in renewable energies through a Salesian program in Kénitra, Morocco. Every month, vocational education students receive scholarships funded by the German association, Otto Benecke, to help support their education.
Kénitra is a city on the outskirts of the capital city of Rabat and home to close to 800,000 people. The vocational training program in renewable energies is part of a broader Salesian educational center which has more than 1,200 students enrolled in elementary, secondary and vocational education.
The Salesian schools in Kénitra offer students a comprehensive education, regardless of differences in religious beliefs. Today, the schools are run by three Salesian missionaries with the help of lay collaborators. The elementary, secondary and technical schools serve predominantly Muslim students.
The technical school directly prepares youth for employment with classes being offered in renewable energies, electronics, socio-cultural studies and community education. The College of Don Bosco, a hostel for students attending the École Don Bosco, provides space for extra lessons and additional educational support. There is also a library open to the public and a computer center available to the students.
Thirty students recently graduated from the Don Bosco Technical Institute located in Thecho, Nepal, with certificates from its tailoring and beautician courses. Each program lasted for six months and included additional support in finding employment after graduation. In total, the institute has trained 642 students in these two courses since 2011.
The Don Bosco Technical Institute started with just one computer course and today offers 11 CTEVT (Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training) affiliated courses and a diploma course in electrical engineering. Since its inception, it has graduated 1768 students from all its programs. Salesian missionaries are hoping to launch more diploma courses and offer a short awareness program to be held in the government schools within the neighborhood and neighboring municipalities.
In addition to Salesian institutes providing vocational and technical training, Salesian missionaries have continued to help Nepal with long-term reconstruction efforts after the devastating 7.8 earthquake that struck the country on April 25, 2015 and the second earthquake that struck just after that on May 12 as well as in regions that have been flood prone.
Salesian Missions donors are ensuring that students attending the Don Bosco Agro-Mechanical Technology Center (known locally as Don Bosco Legazpi), located in Banquerohan, Legazpi City, Philippines, have the training and equipment needed for a new soybean production program. Don Bosco Legazpi is a technical vocational school offering skills training and a farm development program for youth to help them achieve self-sufficiency.
Salesian missionaries launched Don Bosco Legazpi in 2000. The school consists of an Agricultural Technology Center and an adjacent Don Bosco Demonstration Farm. The technology center educates 170 rural youth each year and the farm helps more than 2,000 young graduates embark on their own farming cooperatives.
The Agricultural Technology Center offers its students an opportunity to combine theory with practice through its hands-on approach. Students use the skills they learn in the classroom by putting them directly to work in the fields that are part of the center’s farm. They are taught theoretical and practical courses in greenhouses, growing vegetables, cereal crops, gardening, breeding, animal husbandry and veterinary sciences as well as milk, cheese and dairy products.
The Don Bosco Demonstration Farm allows graduates and their families to use the land to organize small cooperatives and assists them with sourcing microfinancing, farming assistance and the marketing of their agricultural products.
Don Bosco Vocational Training Centers in Dar es Salaam, Dodoma and Iringa in Tanzania have been working to advance each center’s ability to provide technical and vocational training in renewable energy. To date, 260 students are accessing renewable energy training at Don Bosco Vocational Training Centers in Dodoma and Iringa. These includes both male and female students.
Don Bosco Oysterbay in Dar es Salaam has been funded over the last two years through a partnership with Misereor, the German Catholic Bishops’ Organization for Development Cooperation, to help advance this training capacity.
Building off this work, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation awarded a grant to Salesian Missions to fund the same training initiative at the Don Bosco training centers in Dodoma and Iringa. This has led to the establishment of training laboratories and the remodeling of the solar and electronic classes and workshops at the centers as well as the installation of training equipment and furniture and the development and training of instructors on the new syllabus. The projects are contributing to increased access to quality technical training on renewable energy in Tanzania.
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