Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: February 07, 2022

A Home for Vulnerable Youth in Nigeria

Throughout Nigeria’s urban centers, the mounting pressures of extreme poverty erupts onto the streets—in the form of thousands of vulnerable youth who struggle to survive outside their families’ care. Chindu (not his real name) was one of them—until a kind soul led him to Bosco Boys Home in Lagos.

Like so many other children suffering from hunger, violence and despair at home, Chindu faced an agonizing choice; stay and endure ongoing hardship and abuse, or leave and risk something possibly even worse.

“Far too often—and for reasons beyond their control—precious girls and boys like Chindu run away from home because they believe something better is out there,” explains Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “They make their way into the cities, hoping to escape the misery and support themselves by finding decent work.”

“With no caring adult or social protection to speak of,” Fr. Gus continues, “they become targets for things like gang violence, trafficking and labor exploitation. They live in constant fear, have to steal money and food just to survive, and are at great risk for substance abuse.” Thankfully, the Bosco Boys Home offers a safe haven.

Like Chindu, many of the residents first learn of the Bosco Boys Home through trained outreach workers who fan out into the neighborhoods to find and converse with the street children. These professionals offer moral and psychological support, and collaborate with a broader team—including law enforcement, child protective services, and the courts—to rescue endangered youth and bring them to the Salesian-run Don Bosco Child Protection Center and ultimately, the Bosco Boys Home.

Here, two social workers, two teachers, a mental health counselor, and additional house and administrative staffers provide former street children ages 7-15 with a safe place to live, and the resources and opportunities they need to turn their lives around. These fragile boys receive shelter, food, clothing and medical care, and can participate in skills training opportunities to prepare them for the future. Whenever possible, staff work with the boys and their families to reunite and reintegrate them into home life—and follow up as necessary to address any ongoing challenges.

“I will say a lot has been done since I entered the Bosco Boys Home,” says Chindu. “I was able to get in touch with my parents, enroll in school, and a lot of positive attitudes have been embedded in me.”

The Bosco Boys Home is one of several Salesian-run programs serving at-risk youth throughout Nigeria, throughout Africa, and throughout the world. Support from generous friends like you make programs like this possible.

Learn more about our work in Nigeria.

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