Leon Kansomede, age 8, was appreciative of the clothing he received. He said, “I celebrated Christmas well at Don Bosco Kandi and received beautiful clothes and had a nice party. Thank you and may the Lord bless you.”
Kaifatou Tino is a sewing apprentice who had her school fees paid so she could continue her education. “I thank Don Bosco for the financial help. It has enabled me to remain in school and have hope for the future.”
Foyer Don Bosco serves boys and girls in very complex situations, including those who have been abandoned by their families, victims of abuse, and victims of forced marriages. The area of Kandi often has an influx of children who are on their own. Children are sometimes sold on the black market and exploited in the workforce. A transit home was started with the support of UNICEF to host these children, while guiding them to other homes or trying to find their families.
Foyer Don Bosco was created for children who have nowhere else to go or need to stay for long periods of time. In collaboration with the juvenile courts of Benin, minors who are in conflict with the law and in high-risk situations are assisted by the Salesians. The border police also intercept children being trafficked from Niger and Burkina Faso.
Foyer Don Bosco relies on donations so that Salesians can provide youth with food, clothing, education, and medical care. Salesians also work with families and try to provide reunification when appropriate.
Children in Benin face significant challenges in gaining an education within the country's poor educational system. According to UNICEF, Benin remains one of the poorest countries in the world with close to 70 percent of its population living in poverty. About half of all children between the ages of 5 and 13 are engaged in some kind of forced labor in the country and almost 20 percent are chronically undernourished. Youth in Benin also face overwhelming challenges in combating poverty, one of the root causes of child trafficking.