Salesian Entity Facilitating Scholarships for Vulnerable at Nigerian Vocational Center

Credit: Salesian Missions

The U.S.-based development arm of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), Salesian Missions, is facilitating scholarships for students with vulnerabilities at the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center Koko in Nigeria.

In a Tuesday, May 31 report, Salesian Missions officials say, “Youth attending the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center in Koko, within the Kebbi State of Nigeria, received scholarships thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions.”

“The 150 students who received scholarships were selected based on criteria developed at the school,” officials of the SDB entity say in the May 31 report.

They add that the initiative benefitted “students who were directly affected by bandit attacks, teenage girls who were about to be forced into marriage, youth from poor backgrounds, and orphans who lost either parent.”

“Other students selected had not received any formal education and were willing to learn a skill,” Salesian Missions officials further say. 


They give examples of beneficiaries to the scholarship initiative, highlighting their respective vulnerabilities. 

“Lydia, one of the recipients, is the oldest of seven daughters. Three years ago, her father died and her mother passed away last year,” officials of the SDB entity say.

They continue, “Lydia was left to take care of her siblings, but she cannot afford the fees to send them to school. She is continuing her education to be able to help her siblings.”

Markus, also a beneficiary of the scholarship initiative, “lost his mother a few years ago and helps to take care of the family. Because of a bandit attack, the family was unable to access their farm produce this year,” Salesian Missions officials recount.

They continue in reference to Markus, “He is studying to have a chance to earn a living.”

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“Sabastine is a brilliant student but was about to stop her education because her family could not financially support her education,” officials of the Salesian entity say, and added, “The scholarship allowed her to take part in the skills development program.”

They say that after students finish their education at the Nigerian institution, “the center has a job service office that will help them make good career choices.” 

“They will develop a plan, receive assistance applying and interviewing for jobs, and then transition into the workforce,” they say in the May 31 report.

The job service office, SDB officials say, “will monitor their progress and assess them going forward to see their success.”

“Salesian technical and vocational education centers help youth gain the skills for employment,” the Director of Salesian Missions, Fr. Gus Baek has been quoted as saying in the report.


Fr. Baek adds, “Providing scholarships enables poor and unfortunate youth to be able to attend school and later find long-term, stable employment. This, in turn, helps their families and communities.”

Salesian missionaries arrived in Koko in 2014 and began developing pastoral programs. This opened up other avenues to serve the local population and the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center was opened in October 2021, officials of the SDB entity say.

They add, “The center has four departments including electrical building and construction, fashion and design, and computers.”

“Students take six-month long courses. Currently, there are 154 students, mostly from poor families who would like their children to be enrolled in the training offered,” the leadership of Salesian Missions says in the May 31 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.