In the Samoan Valdocco-like family-size school there are 22 instructors and teachers, two office staff, 5 Salesians (3 Salesians in practical training included), and 198 students of “Don Bosco Alafua” this year (first year 47 only, and in 2019: 74% increase). This increase of students is due to the proactive use of social media, joint action and information sessions in Upolu and Savaii islands with government and mission colleges in 2018. Moreover, the Salesians are growing in the partnership with the SQA (Samoa Qualification Authority) that accredits the five department skill vocational training programs and also offers scholarships and subsidy for the equipment and school upgrade.
Since most of the students come from not very wealthy families, scholarship programs are very important; and the SQA guarantee also the international (Australia and New Zealand) certification standard for graduates, accreditation of program quality (ongoing program for level II of five sections).
Most of all, the Salesians in Samoa are proud that most of the graduates found employment in industries through on-job-training (6 weeks) and the school is working closely with the Industry Advisory Panel.
“To sustain our school we are working on production (carpentry and welding) and we are trying to maintain our school building (repainted last year) with school fundraising activity; Government grants are also a good help. Since 1979 we are grateful to the AUL province centre in Melbourne and its Mission Office (ASMOAF) for the continuous support,” said Mr. Mane, Principal of “Don Bosco Technical School”.
At the same time, the center of Saleleloga is also growing: thanks to the generosity of many benefactors, it has been possible to build a large multi-purpose hall, finally able to gather the entire school population in a single environment, composed of 225 pupils from the school and Vocational Training Center, and 22 teachers. The hall, dedicated to Fr Elio Proietto, the first Salesian missionary in Samoa, will also contribute to the school's self-sustainability, because it will be rented for events - for example, in July it will host some Boxing matches of the 2019 Pacific Games.
Furthermore, the Salesian Cooperators (SSCC) of the center of Alafua have also been busy. For this reason, after the glories of 2018 - which saw the translation into Samoan of the Project of Apostolic Life and the official opening of the center (the first and only one so far in the whole Pacific Delegation) - in this beginning of 2019 the SSCCs of Samoa have managed, through various fundraising activities, to provide the salary for an additional educator at the Salesian kindergarten, and foster a family atmosphere with aspiring SSCCs of the rest of the Delegation by sharing news concerning the Salesian Family.