Paraguay – "Don Bosco Róga" opens its doors to integrating minors thanks to music

23 December 2021

(ANS - Asunción) - The “Don Bosco Róga” educational center, in the capital of Paraguay, Asunción, is at the service of adolescents and young people in situations of vulnerability. One of its projects is social inclusion through music, which aims to promote children through a youth orchestra, with nearly 250 beneficiaries. The Don Bosco Róga Foundation assists nearly 1,300 needy families in Asunción, Itauguá and Capiatá, making support activities available to nearly 2,000 beneficiaries.

Music is a fundamental tool in the education to values ​​of the Salesians. The social inclusion project through Don Bosco Róga's music took its first steps in 2003, thanks to the help of various international institutions. Initially, the program was set up for the children living in the Salesian center, but over time it was extended to the whole community. It currently has about 250 boys and girls, led by a staff of 27 educators and professionals who accompany them every day in their musical and human formation.

The "Don Bosco Róga Children's and Youth Symphony Orchestra" operates at the Salesian Educational Center of the same name, where the religious and their lay collaborators give lessons on 26 instruments - including violin, cello, flute, oboe, bassoon, trumpet, symphonic percussion. To all this, one must also add the singing, dance and theater lessons offered from Monday to Friday for five hours in the afternoon, and on Saturday mornings.

The lessons are aimed specifically at children and young people aged 8 to 25, but are actually open to all ages. “There are also 73 and 76 year old students. There are cases where the children came first and then their parents,” says one of the teachers. “Our goal is not to train exceptional musicians, but to be a tool for saving human lives,” the Salesians explain.

“I have been part of the orchestra for six years. I signed up because I had learning problems and was told that when you study music you become smarter ... And it really helps me to perform better, both in school and socially. I play the violin and the cello,” says Mary, aged 14.

To participate in the musical project, there is no need to pay as activities are free; an identity card is enough and that children are accompanied by an adult. “Our desire is to continue to progress in the balance between the technical-musical, human and Christian development of all the beneficiaries. We want every young person to develop their musical skills and apply them to life and their environment,” explains Renan Reckziegel, artistic director of the orchestra.

Manuel Rojas, an 11-year-old boy, explains that he is happy to belong to the orchestra, “because I saw my sister playing the violin from an early age, which is why I came here and managed to become part of the group.”

The orchestra plays symphonic, classical, folk, popular, and Andean music. Every year it used to hold more than a dozen concerts and meetings with other youth musical groups, and has collected several national and international awards, as well as having recorded several albums; the pandemic has currently put a stop to its journey since the lessons of the last few months have had to necessarily be held online and not all students have been able to follow them.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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