July 16, 2024

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Rwanda: The role of the Salesians in the promotion of Literacy among the disadvantage Youth

Young People receiving Certicates after successful completion of one year Literacy Program at Don Bosco Muhazi TVET School

 

As the world marks International Literacy Day, it is important to think about the role of Salesian Education in continuing to spread knowledge among adults and young people, especially those who have not been able to attend high schools and even to some extent are some who have not completed Primary level.

You can’t be astonished to find some youth practicing a vocation but have never been to primary school. We find such young boys and girls in the Salesian TVETs around the word and even here in Rwanda.

Just so that a student can start his or her chosen vocation depending on what he/she wishes, such a student is first taught to read, count and write and then gets to start a trade.

For example, at the Don Bosco Center which locates in Gikomero sector, Gasabo District in Kigali City, young people who have not been able to attend primary education come to be taught to read and write and count and then the successful candidates get the opportunity to enrol in vocational courses such as Culinary Arts, tailoring or construction.

The Headmistress of the Don Bosco Muhazi Technical and Vocational Training School, Sister Nyanzira Leocadie says that although such young people have not been able to learn, once they arrive at the centre they are taught to read, write and count and later they are certificates that allow them to enroll in vocational courses.

“We take the responsibility to teach them ourselves. We don’t wait for teachers from elsewhere. We teach them the basics of reading, counting and writing. They are then taught by their peers,” she says.

These young people are mostly from poor families so there is a need for them to find other help so that they can attend classes without difficulty.

“We can give an example of lunch where through donors we receive food donations so that we nourish them when they are here at school.

“You feel that if a student from poor families comes to study and is already competent, it is important for him or her to be able to get something to eat so that they study well” said Sister Nyanzira.

The school’s activities are always coordinated by the sisters “INSHUTI Z’ABAKENE”, translated as “Friends of the poor” under the guidance of the Salesian Provincial House which is located in Kigali, Capital City of Rwanda.

The Provincial Vicar and Director of Don Bosco Muhazi Community, Father Raymond Bavumiragiye, explains that the first goal of the Salesians is to educate the youth with a focus on the poor.

“Even if such young people didn’t have the opportunity to attend Primary level where they learn to read or write, the important thing is that they are first enrolled in the Adults Literacy program and then once they get skills, they are immediately enrolled into vocations to help them prepare for their better future.” Father Bavumiragiye said.

He adds that to achieve their education goals there is a need of working with various donors who can provide teaching materials as well as funding for the food support program.

Similarly, the Salesians provide education to the youth in Palabek refugee camp which hosts a big number of refugees from South Sudan. These young people, mostly young girls and boys, have found themselves in refugee camps due to insecurity in their country, but yet the Salesians have not given up on the basic assistance they are given, including vocational training.

The Provincial Vicar and Director of Don Bosco Muhazi Community, Father Raymond Bavumiragiye

Through the TVET centre that Salesians with the help of donors constructed in the refugee camp, those young people are trained in Literacy program and later enrolled in Vocational training such as tailoring, agriculture, Masonry among other vocational training services.  

Father Bavumiragiye commends the Salesians for their dedication and efforts to develop the low-income youth through vocational training regardless of social backgrounds.

FACTS ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL Literacy Day

September 8, is International Literacy Day, established in 1966 to “to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human right, and to advance the literacy agenda towards a more literate and sustainable society.”

The crisis caused by the pandemic, however, has disrupted learning for thousands of children, young people and adults, on an unprecedented scale. In fact, the United Nations estimates that:

773 million adults and young people lack basic literacy skills;
617 million children and adolescents do not reach the minimum levels of proficiency in reading and mathematics.
During the initial phase of the pandemic, schools were closed, disrupting the education of 62.3% of the world’s student population of 1.09 billion.

The Salesian missionaries focus their educational efforts on literacy and on a series of other initiatives aimed at acquiring fundamental skills. During the pandemic, the Salesians worked to address educational challenges, facing the many changes and adapting to provide educational lessons both remotely and in person.

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