"Salesians have been present in Thailand for many years; initially dealing with orphans and early evangelization, and now managing school works, vocational training centers, parishes and oratories," explains Mr. Giampietro Pettenon, Procurator of Don Bosco Missions.
Thai students arriving in the two Salesian Professional Training Centers (CFP) are students who've performed poorly, come from school failures, with relational problems or learning difficulties, but they graduate from the Salesian training courses with skills that are immediately marketable in the workplace.
In both CFPs there are about 1000 students, who are formed on the latest technological innovations; then, thanks to the country's great industrial productivity, the skilled manpower produced in large quantities by the Salesians is easily absorbed and hired.
In Vietnam, however, the Salesians in Vietnam are all local: European missionaries were expelled at the end of the war in 1975. Today, however, the Salesians in Vietnam are approximately 300, with another 140 serving as missionaries around the globe.
"In developing countries, the school is usually the first educational instrument that the Salesians of Don Bosco get going, but it was not possible after 1975," Mr Pettenon explained. “That is why the Salesians have developed CFPs.”
In the south of the country, where the percentage of Catholics is larger, and the Salesians are more present, there are 6 Salesian CFPs that educate and transform those who are unhappy, demotivated, unable to keep up with the educational goals imposed by the school system. Other significant educational works are student boarding houses for children from the countryside who attend state schools; a center for diversely-abled children and teenagers; parishes and oratories; and in Saigon, there is also a school-shop featuring a refined European cuisine restaurant managed by the students of the school's vocational training program.
Thailand and Vietnam: hard-working and enterprising lands, where being Catholic means being a minority, and to be Don Bosco's Past Pupils is a chance for one's own future.
Further information at: Don Bosco Missions