In East Timor, one of the poorest countries in South East Asia, Salesians make a significant contribution to the nation through schools, orphanages and medical clinics.
"Education is the key to helping individuals to acquire skills, improve their skills and actively participate in the development of their country," they write. "This is the tradition we have inherited from Don Bosco and there are some stories that illustrate it perfectly."
In fact, there are many stories of hope and redemption that come from East Timor, where young people may indeed have a second chance thanks to the Salesians.
An example is the testimony of Sonio Da Silva, a past pupil of the "Don Bosco" Technical Institute of Fatumaca. "I was very lucky to attend this school, where I received an excellent education, which opened many doors to me. I am currently working for the Government of East Timor and my role is to manage transport, water, sanitation and education throughout the country. This allowed me to provide for my family: I am a proud husband and I have three adorable children," he said.
Another beautiful testimony is that of Denilson da Costa, one of the 100 minors welcomed at the Don Bosco orphanage in Lospalos. Denilson lived alone with his mother and, because of their difficult economic situation, he thought of leaving school. Then Fr Tomas Gusmão, Director of the Institute of Lospalos, convinced him to enter the orphanage. Denilson is now a brilliant student, passionate about music and sports, and he also helps other young people of the center.
Then there is the "Don Bosco" Technical Training Center in Comoro, Dili, which offers a wide variety of courses, in different fields of formation, allowing young students to enter the world of work.
Also, since 1995, the FMA present in East Timor have been running an efficient medical clinic in Venilale. Here, residents in the poorest areas of the country are informed about the importance of personal hygiene, which can prevent diseases such as dermatitis and scabies, and provide treatment to those who cannot afford medical care. Assistance is also given to young mothers and tuberculosis patients.
To conclude, Br Lynch adds: "Keep on praying for the inhabitants of East Timor, as they have many challenges to face and need all the possible support they can get."
More information on the website: https://www.salesianmissionsaustralia.org.au/