Salesians in Chad Using Education to Give “most vulnerable youth a sense of self-worth”

Salesian missionaries provide education and for the basic needs of youth in their programs in Chad. Credit: Salesian Missions

Members of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) serving in Chad are using education to reach out to “most vulnerable youth” in the landlocked country located at the crossroads of North and Central Africa, giving them “a sense of personal dignity and self-worth”.

In a Tuesday, July 5 report, officials of Salesian Missions, the U.S.-based SDB development arm, highlight some of the educational institutions under the auspices of SDB members and their respective roles in empowering those enrolled in their programs.

“Education has proven to be an effective means of breaking the cycle of poverty while giving the most vulnerable youth a sense of personal dignity and self-worth,” SDB officials say.

They add, “Salesian primary and secondary schools lay a foundation for future education while Salesian vocational, technical, professional and agricultural schools provide practical skills to youth to have an opportunity to become contributing adults in their communities — rebuilding communities and ending the cycle of poverty.”

In the July 5 report, the Director of Salesian Missions says that the entity’s primary focus is education.


“Education is always our primary focus,” Fr. Gus Baek says, and adds, “We know, however, that youth in Chad are dealing with much more than just having access to education.”

The report indicates that “Salesian programs are designed to meet the needs of the youth in the communities they serve including the homeless and malnourished youth who are not able to focus effectively on studies while they struggle to meet their basic needs.”

The officials of the U.S entity say, “Our services provide food and shelter so youth are able to focus on the education provided.”

According to the July 5 report, “Salesian missionaries have been living and working with poor youth in Chad in central Africa since 1995. They established their first programs in Sarh, the third largest city in the country, which has more than 120,000 residents.”

The report further indicates that in 1998, “missionaries began other programs in the capital of N’Djamena, and in 2013, in the city of Doba.”

More in Africa

In Sarh, the capital of the Moyen-Chari Region in Chad, Salesian missionaries operate a kindergarten, a school for older youth, a youth center and a Church parish, the July 5 report indicates.

“Salesian work also takes them into more than 116 villages in the surrounding areas. The goal is to provide people with their most basic needs including food, clothing, and medical assistance while encouraging youth to attend the local Salesian school,” Salesian officials say.

According to the World Food Programme (WFP), Chad is “a low-income country with limited income-generating opportunities and restricted access to social services.”

“Most of Chad is covered by desert and this presents a significant challenge for a developing country that depends largely on subsistence farming. The most successful practice is migratory farming, where herds can move and adapt to changing climate conditions, but even this practice is severely limited by resources,” WFP report indicates.

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.