“Those jobs have left the area due to privatized mines, leaving a large percentage of the population unemployed,” SDB officials say, and add, “Young girls are especially at risk because they often cannot get an education and find themselves on the streets facing exploitation.”
In the June 21 report, the officials of the New York-based Salesian entity paint a bleak picture of the situation of young people in the Zambian community, saying, “Many youths in the region are forced to beg for money or engage in drug abuse and criminal activities.”
“The community where the school is based has many youth living in the area, and the other schools could not meet the demand for education, particularly grades 8-12,” SDB officials say about the initiative that was realized in partnership with other educational entities and an agreement with the Zambian government.
“The Salesian secondary school filled the gap for poor youth who could not afford other schools,” Salesian officials say, and add, “The goal is to provide training to equip them with the skills and the knowledge so they can live a self-sustainable life.”
In the June 21 report, the Director of Salesian Missions, Fr. Gus Baek, expresses his appreciation to all the donors who participated in the construction of the classrooms that are part of the initiative seeking to empower the youth through education.
“We appreciate the donors who were able to help this Salesian secondary school build more classrooms to meet the growing demand for education. Gaining an education with the skills needed for employment enables youth to take care of themselves and their families, improving their lives and their communities,” Fr. Baek is quoted as saying.
The report further indicates, “Poverty is widespread in Zambia with 64 percent of the total population living below the poverty line. For those living in rural areas, the poverty rate rises to 80 percent, according to UNICEF.”
Income in Zambia has fallen steadily over the past three decades and people do not have enough money to meet basic needs such as shelter, nutritious food, and medical care, SDB officials say in the report, adding, “The HIV/AIDS epidemic has also taken a devastating toll on Zambia’s children.”
They continue, “There are 1.2 million children classified as orphaned and vulnerable by UNICEF, and these children struggle to find education, basic services and hope for their future.”
Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.
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