On International Families Day, Salesians Highlight Initiatives to Assist Rwandan Families

Young mothers benefit from a sewing program through the Don Bosco Technical and Vocational Training School in Rwanda. Credit: Salesian Missions

On the occasion of the International Day of Families (IDF) marked Sunday, May 15, members of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) have highlighted their initiatves aimed at empowering needy families in Rwanda.

In a Sunday, May 15 report, officials of the Salesian Missions, the U.S. SDB development arm, say, “Salesian missionaries around the globe provide for youth and their families who are facing challenges related to poverty, lack of education, hunger, and homelessness.”

“While our primary focus is on education, we also aim to provide other wrap-around services that help youth and their families lead healthy and productive lives while making a positive impact on their communities,” the Director of Salesian Missions, Fr. Gus Baek, has been quoted as saying.

In Rwanda, the Don Bosco Technical and Vocational Training School in Rango located in the Catholic Diocese of Butare in the Southern part of the country currently offers courses in construction, carpentry, welding and sewing, officials of the Salesian Missions say.

They add, “Each course spans two years of training, and the majority of students in the program are youth who come from vulnerable situations and have been living in poverty.”


Beneficiaries of the initiative in Rwanda, officials of Salesian Missions say, “are 17-25 years old, and some are single mothers looking to improve their lives for their children.”

“The rate of teenage pregnancies in the country has had exponential growth in recent years and is becoming a major obstacle to social and economic development among the poorest populations,” they report in reference to Rwanda.

To address the challenge, SDB members in Rwanda “have launched projects to help educate and promote family involvement while also providing skills training so that young mothers can find employment or start a small business, ensuring that they can live in a dignified manner with their children,” the May 15 report by Mission Newswire, the Salesian Missions official news service indicates.

Salesian Missions officials say that SDB members in Rwanda have partnered with the Salesian Mission Office in Turin, Italy to “purchase 40 sewing machines to train and empower young mothers so they can acquire the skills to start a small business.”

“Launching a modest tailoring or dressmaking shop or a simple sewing workshop can help provide an income for families,” Salesian Missions officials say in their report on the occasion of IDF.

More in Africa

IDF was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993. The annual event that is marked on May 15 reflects on the importance the international community attaches to families.

The event is organized by the International Federation for Family Development in partnership with SOS Children’s Villages International, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and the Division for Social Policy and Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

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.