“Salesians offer primary and secondary education, technical and vocational school, boarding for youth traveling long distances to schools, and oratories, among other programs,” they add.
In the April 11 report, Salesian officials further say their “programs in Rwanda are also working to help at-risk youth who are often living on the streets.”
“Most of the children who attend programs at Don Bosco Oratory in Kabgayi come from poor families and need a supportive environment,” the Director of Salesian Missions, Fr. Gus Baek, has been quoted as saying in the report.
Fr. Baek adds, “Salesian oratories offer a safe place for youth to engage in constructive activities during leisure time – such as sports, art and music. Youth learn teamwork and social skills, which provide opportunities for growth and maturity.”
According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), there are about 7,000 street children in Rwanda, and more 300,000 children living in families in which a minor is at the helm of the family.
“Street children face a life that is marked by uncertainty and a lack of education, food, protection and health care access,” SDB officials say about a section of children in the landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley, where the African Great Lakes region and East Africa converge.
The street children, they further say, in the April 11 report, “have no understanding of their rights and often fall prey to those who wish to do them harm.”
“Street children have few prospects in life because they are not in school gaining an education,” officials of Salesian Missions say.
The children “are on the streets begging or taking odd jobs to have enough food to eat. Most suffer from malnutrition and other diseases such as dysentery, malaria and scabies,” they add.
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.
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