D. R. Congo - In the richest country in the world, poverty continues to destroy the lives of young people

07 April 2016

(ANS - Bukavu) - The journalist D. Snow once called Congo "a country cursed by its wealth." "The Second Congo War, called 'the Great War of Africa', sucked in military and civilians from nine countries". In the town of Bukavu, on the shores of Lake Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Salesians have a professional school for street children and poor youth.

Hundreds of young people aged between 14 and 20 roam the streets of Bukavu. Some of them have never attended school. The poverty of their families forces them to look for a job and many of them survive by engaging in small jobs. They always retain the hope of returning to school. And their work is always underpaid.

The interruption or the total absence of education has negative results in the social life of D.R. Congo. Lack of education robs the country of opportunities for development. It often happens that young people spend their money on alcohol and drugs and so destroy their health. Some enter criminal gangs and end up using weapons.

Fr Giovanni Querzani, an Italian missionary, began working with the young people of the Kadutu area of Bukavu. He started with a vocational school in Bukavu to give people a profession. Thanks to some Italian benefactors he received a lot of mechanical and woodwork equipment. Then he handed over the school to the Salesians.

The Salesians are organizing a literacy course for street children, with the aim of evaluating and harmonizing the level of initial education. At present 100 children are taking part in educational activities. For young people a vocational training programme was organized in three sectors: construction, carpentry and auto-mechanics, although they lack many of the necessary tools.

But the Bukavu Salesians remain convinced that "accommodating and educating young people at risk is good for society."


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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