Ethiopia - The Salesians, the VIS and that breath of hope for street children

22 January 2019

(ANS - Addis Ababa) - How will Abel, Yonas or Kayla, who are 7-8 years old, imagine their future, while they spend their lives on the streets, sleeping on sidewalks or in a landfill? How to invent a plausible future? The meeting point between degradation and hopes, in Addis Ababa, can be a Salesian priest.

Fr Angelo Regazzo, SDB, is an over-seventy-year-old who in his life as a missionary around the world has really seen and met all sorts of things and people. He even did a survival course in the middle of the Thai jungle, reserved for Salesians who bring the Christian message to the world. For over 20 years, he has tries to invent a future for these kids.

Fr Regazzo gets up in the morning at 4 and has breakfast in the "Bosco Children" cafeteria, where the missionaries, together with lay volunteers, now welcome more than 400 children. Then off, to work. He starts his bus with about thirty seats and begins driving around the city, in the areas of Kera, Mekanissa, Jemo, Kirkos, along the "King Road", close to the airport, to gather little girls and boys who live on the street, forced to get by on their own in the dry and pungent cold of the highlands.

"Unfortunately," confesses Fr Angelo, "from all this we manage to take away mainly the males. The girls rarely let themselves get involved in the program we called 'Come and See' because they, once they reach 11-12 years, end up in the hell of child prostitution. They are attracted by the idea of ​​a 'comfortable life', which for them means simply owning a cell phone, a dress, a little make-up to look older."

Among the volunteers who revolve around the world of Don Bosco's disciples, in Ethiopia, there is also the International Voluntary Service for Development (VIS). In Ethiopia, VIS has been working since 1998, above all, but not only, in education, vocational training and job placement. With the Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development, and the CEI, it has just completed the "Print your future" project, which has been used to promote courses in graphic arts and typography, tailoring, catering preparation, woodworking, mechanics, leather goods, construction, which involved over 1,000 boys.

The courses were held in Salesian schools in Mekelle and Adwa, Gambella and Addis Ababa, and last year the country's first graphics and printing school was inaugurated. And for over two years, together with various other partners, such as "Missioni Don Bosco" of Turin, it has been developing European projects oriented towards the prevention of irregular migrations.

Source: La Repubblica


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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