Salesisans in Madagascar Providing “full meals, social support” to Young Prisoners

Some of the homeless youths in prison that Salesian MIssionaries are supporting in Madagascar. Credit: Salesian Missions

Members of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) ministering in Madagascar are providing basic means of livelihood, including “social support” to young boys imprisoned at a state-run rehabilitation center in the country’s capital, Antananarivo.

In a Tuesday, March 28 report, SDB members say the acts of compassion shown to the around 100 imprisoned boys help in their reintegration into society after they are set free. 

“Salesian missionaries deliver meals and provide social support for boys in the state-run rehabilitation center in Antananarivo, Madagascar. Salesians also provide engaging recreational activities,” SDB members in the Island country in the Indian Ocean say.

They add, “During the week, the young prisoners are subject to rigid prison rules which do not provide play and free time, but on Sundays, they can participate in sports and recreational activities.” 

Besides the weekly recreational activities, games and raffles are organized twice or thrice a year, the Salesians say, adding that they “distribute useful items for daily life” to the youths during the leisure activities.


They continue, “As the authorities are unable to provide regular and balanced meals, Salesians distribute full meals to the young prisoners through the Novices, who then eat with them.”

SDB members say that by providing for the nutritional and recreational needs of the imprisoned youths, they help the young prisoners “get through these tough prison sentences by showing them compassion, which will help with reintegration into society once they are released.”

Fr. Giovanni Corselli, a Salesian involved in the outreach to young prisoners says, “Music, theater, sports, as well as spiritual formation through the celebration of Mass, catechism, and the screening of religious and educational documentaries are some of the activities that we provide for youth.”

Fr. Corselli says that ministering among the boys aged between 9 and 17 years is “delicate and complex”. 

“It is delicate and complex to manage those who have committed a crime with those whose only fault is living on the streets without the support of their families or children whose families are unable to care for them,” the Salesian Priest who has been ministering in the Indian Ocean island nation for nearly 40 years says.

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He adds that while SDB members in the Indian Ocean Island nation have tried saving some of the boys, they have not succeeded in helping all of them “because they need constant care and it’s just not possible for us.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.