July 20, 2024

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Happy International Day of Education 2023

As we celebrate the International Day of Education 2023, It is important to come back to the role of the Salesians of Don Bosco in spreading knowledge among adults and young people, especially those who are more vulnerable than others.

The fifth International Day of Education is celebrated on 24 January 2023 under the theme “to invest in people, prioritize education”. Building on the global momentum generated by the UN Transforming Education Summit in September 2022, this year’s Day calls for maintaining strong political mobilization around education and charting the way to translate commitments and global initiatives into action.

Education must be prioritized to accelerate progress towards all the Sustainable Development Goals against the backdrop of a global recession, growing inequalities and the climate crisis.
Giving young people equal opportunities in education is a key factor in eliminating the educational disparity regardless of the individual’s background.

Today, you can’t be astonished to find some youth practicing a vocation but have never been able to complete primary school. We find such young boys and girls in the Salesian TVETs around the world. For example, at the Don Bosco Muhazi TVET school 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 enroll in vocational courses such as Culinary Arts, tailoring or construction. 
Although such young people have not been able to do primary education, once they arrive at the center they are enrolled in an adult Literacy Program where they are taught to read, write and count and later they get certificates that allow them to enroll in vocational courses.

Such 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 donation they are able to get lunch when they are at the formation centre.Here, you feel that if students from poor families come to study and are already competent, it is important for them to be able to get something to eat so that they study well.

Don Bosco Muhazi TVET school 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, explained 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 Refugee environment such as in Palabek refugee camp which hosts a big number of refugees from South Sudan and in Burundi where thousands of the young people and children are living in extreme poverty causing negative impacts to their education.
These young people, mostly young girls and boys, have found themselves in vulnerable conditions, but yet the Salesians have not given up on the basic assistance they are given, including Primary and Nursery education, vocational training and feeding programs, thanks to donors whose hands are always oriented to those in need.

In Palabek Refugee camp, young people are trained in Literacy programs 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.
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as International Day of Education, in celebration of the role of education for peace and development.

Without inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all, countries will not succeed in achieving gender equality and breaking the cycle of poverty that is leaving millions of children, youth and adults behind.

Today, 244 million children and youth are out of school, and 771 million adults are illiterate. Their right to education is being violated and it is unacceptable. It’s time to transform education.
Salesian missionaries in AGL Province (Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi) offer programs to combat poverty through education, skills training and workforce development services, as well as meeting basic needs with shelter and feeding programs.

Many initial educational programs focused on teaching how to read and write.

However, as more people became interested in learning vocational and trade skills and preparing for the workforce, programs expanded to cover other subjects and incorporate skills training that lead to long-term employment. 
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