Salesians run Don Bosco Technical Institute to help refugees acquire skills for employment
(MissionNewswire) Kakuma refugee camp was established in 1992 near from Kenya border with South Sudan. It was a place of refuge for unaccompanied minors fleeing warring factions in what was then southern Sudan. Today, Kakuma refugee camp is home to more than 225,000 refugees from nine countries, including South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda and Burundi. It is estimated that more than 50% of refugees are young people and children.
Run by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in collaboration with Salesian missionaries as well as several other humanitarian organizations, Kakuma refugee camp provides refugees with safety, security and vital services such as housing, health care, drinking water and sanitation.
Over the years, Salesian missionaries have developed a number of programs and services for the refugees in the camp. The Holy Cross Salesian Catholic Parish offers spiritual services at 10 stations spread throughout the camp. Father Eric Owuor, assistant parish priest and local bursar, said: “As part of the pastoral program of the parish, we frequently organize seminars and workshops for young people which are very useful in the human and Christian formation of our young refugees. “.
The Salesians also launched the Savio Club in 2014 to provide character development for the children in the camp. Mr. Kelvin, a parish catechist, noted: “There is an incredible difference between the children who have gone through the Savio Club and those who have not. They are very active in the church, behave well and do much better in school. Today, more than 1,000 children participate in club activities.
To help refugees acquire skills for employment in Kakuma refugee camp, the Salesians run the Don Bosco Technical Institute in the camp with the help of UNHCR. Courses offered include masonry, electrical and solar energy, auto mechanics, plumbing, sewing, welding and fabrication, secretarial, computer and literacy programs.
To increase access to training, the Salesians run four other centers across the camp that offer the same services. Over the years, the Salesians have provided education to more than 3,000 refugees which has enabled them to earn a living in the camp and in their country of origin.
According to the World Bank, more than 7.8 million people in Kenya live in extreme poverty, the majority in rural areas. People living on less than $1.90 a day in rural areas numbered about 6.6 million, while 1.1 million extremely poor people live in urban areas. Overall, the incidence of poverty has declined in recent years, but at a lower rate in urban areas than in rural areas.
Young people living in Kenya’s big cities like Nairobi live in slums and are at risk of exploitation, forced labor and other abuses. Few attend the later stages of school compared to those living in the more rural areas of Kenya. The few schools serving this underprivileged community are beyond the financial means of most families.
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RESPONNSE – Kenya – “Don Bosco’s mission among refugees”
Salesians of the Don Bosco Province of East Africa
Salesian Missions – Kenya
World Bank – Kenya