On International Women’s Day, Salesians Review Women Empowerment Programs in Africa

Young women were inspired to learn professions traditionally reserved for men at a conference held by the Salesian Tuwe Wafundi School of Trades in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Credit: Salesian Missions

On the annual event of the International Women’s Day (IWD) marked March 8, officials of a development entity of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) have reviewed their programs that seek to empower “young women and girls” across the globe, including Africa.

“Salesian missionaries living and working in more than 130 countries are focused on achieving gender equality through programs targeted specifically for young women and girls,” officials of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of SDB, say in their Tuesday, March 8 report.

The programs, Salesian Missions officials add, “strive to empower young women and girls by providing opportunities for education and training that lead to livable wage employment.”

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the officials say, “The Salesian Tuwe Wafundi School of Trades, part of the Don Bosco Center in Bukavu, welcomed 21 girls and young women who asked to learn a profession traditionally reserved for men, such as bricklayer, carpenter, mechanic and welder.” 

They add, “A conference was held for these students with Marie Claire, a woman entrepreneur who is responsible for a local carpentry workshop.”


“To live and be a female leader, we need to have some principles, some rules that we give ourselves,” Irène Nabintu, an apprentice in automotive mechanics, has been quoted as saying in the March 8 report.

Ms. Nabintu adds, “To qualify as boys do, intelligence and strength are needed, and to work with courage. Without disrespecting men, you can make yourself accepted as a true female leader.”

Claire is a married mother of nine children who are all well-educated thanks to her work, the officials of Salesian Missions say in their report.

“In order for girls and young women to be leaders in their community, they must have access to education,” the Director of Salesian Missions, Fr. Gus Baek, says in the March 8 report.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.