In Malawi, more than 50 percent of the population lives in poverty. Agriculture is a central part of Malawi’s economy but land distribution is unequal and crops are highly vulnerable to the region’s frequent droughts. Few houses have piped water and less than one in 10 Malawians have access to electricity. Water is collected from wells or streams and most cook over an open fire. Malawians deal with hunger and malnutrition on a daily basis. Many children also lack educational opportunities and have few options for improving their circumstances.
Meanwhile, students who complete their elementary and secondary school education are able to advance to technical skills training opportunities at Salesian centers like the Don Bosco Youth Technical Institute in Lilongwe. The new life skills training program ensures that youth are emotionally prepared for the challenges of life while helping them to make good decisions now and in the future.
The Don Bosco Youth Center hosts more than 600 youth each day from the surrounding townships of Areas 23, 24, 44, Kawale and Chilinde, among others, and has become a symbol of youth empowerment through sporting activities as well as vocational and technical education. The center conducts motivational evening talks for spiritual and moral growth and also provides leadership training for youth with the aim of equipping them with skills in leading and motivating other youth toward positive behavior and social change in their respective communities.
The Don Bosco Youth Center campus includes facilities for youth development in sporting disciplines and features a soccer pitch and courts for basketball, netball and volleyball. Also on the campus is the Don Bosco Youth Technical Institute which offers commercial and technical courses in fashion arts and beauty, accounting, bricklaying, motor vehicle mechanics, hospitality and information and communications technology.
“Educating poor youth in Malawi has been an important goal for Salesian missionaries in the country,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Through education, poor youth are able to break the cycle of poverty and gain hope for a brighter future.”
Source: Salesian Missions