Pakistan – The Salesian Mission in Lahore

10 January 2023

(ANS – Lahore) – Pakistan is a country with some problematic issues, such as political instability, terrorism, poverty, and internal tensions. The Kashmir question between India and Pakistan remains unresolved. Furthermore, neighbouring Afghanistan creates refugee and terrorist infiltration problems. The Islamic religion is practiced by 96.5% of the population. Christians are only 1.5%, roughly half Catholic and half Protestant. In Lahore, in the district of Youhanabad where the Salesian house stands, there are many Christians. However, being a small minority, Christians have few opportunities within society.

For everyone, Muslims and Christians alike, religion occupies a prominent place, religiosity is widespread, and religion permeates the whole of society. Another beautiful feature of all of Pakistan is that the population is very young, with a low average age, so there is a high proportion of children and young people.

Two Salesians currently work in Lahore - one of the two Salesian works in the country, along with the one in Quetta. Fr. Noble Lal, the first Salesian priest from Pakistan, who is Director and Economer of the Community and Director of the Technical School; and Br. Piero Ramello, a Salesian coadjutor and missionary, originally from the Special Circumscription of Piedmont and Aosta Valley (ICP), a teacher at the school. Don Bosco Educational Society provides educational services both in formal education (New Don Bosco Higher Secondary School) and in technical education (Don Bosco Technical Centre). The latter offers a variety of vocational training programs as per the community needs to address the issue of unemployment among youth. With the Don Bosco Education project, Salesians are also providing quality education at low cost to the marginalized communities in Pakistan.

In Salesian services for girls, particular attention is paid to reducing early school-leaving. Unfortunately, due to the need to take care of the family, or to the spread of early marriages, many girls abandon their studies before the end of compulsory schooling. This takes place in the ethnic communities of the villages, but also in large urban centres such as Lahore, in the belief that dropping out of school to help the family or early marriage (often against the girl’s will) constitute a solution to economic poverty. For girls, Salesians in Pakistan carry out social promotion programs and training programs on rights with the aim of creating and spreading awareness and self-determination among young people. They work hard to encourage girls to continue their studies. They also organise courses to impart knowledge and skills aimed at learning a trade and thereby emancipating girls. In the words of one of these students: “If we study, we can have a brighter future.”

The school fees charged by the Salesians are very low, since most are single-income families with many children. The local population is very poor and there is need of support or scholarship to complete the education of the youngsters and skills-training in order to become independent members of society.

Source: Salesians Ireland


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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