, 22 May, 2020 / 4:40 AM
A new multipurpose hall under construction at the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center located in Tanzania’s Archdiocese of Dodoma will be instrumental in meeting the needs of close to 1,700 students enrolled annually at the institution, the leadership of the U.S.-based Salesian Missions, which is the development arm of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), has announced in a report shared with ACI Africa.
In the report, the leadership of Salesian Missions announced that the organization had made available funds to complete the building and that “with the funding, Don Bosco Vocational Training Center will now be able to build a space that will meet the needs of the student population.”
“Despite the availability of spacious classrooms, the center does not have an area that can hold all students together for one joint activity such as examinations, graduation ceremonies, morning talks on rainy days or even youth programs,” Salesian Missions U.S. Media Representative, Hannah Gregory reported Wednesday, May 20.
Currently, the center utilizes outdoor space for such events, but it is limited, especially during times of extreme weather, Ms. Gregory noted in her report, adding that the new multipurpose hall will serve as space for training and recreational needs as well as for sports and other indoor recreational activities and animation programs.
“Further, the new hall will provide the center with a permanent area to conduct ceremonies including graduations, assembly, morning and evening talks with students, and youth animation programs,” Ms. Gregory has reported.
She added, “This will enable the center to save costs that were directed toward the procurement of tent services to accommodate events. The money saved will be utilized toward funding ongoing educational initiatives for the students.”
The Salesian of Don Bosco community in Dodoma will also use the hall for income generation since “the space can be rented out for weddings, meetings, conventions and conferences."
The Center is among the oldest vocational training institutions in the East African nation and currently serves close to 1,700 students annually with both long and short courses.
“We are appreciative of our donors who have helped the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center in Dodoma build a much-needed space for students and school activities,” Ms. Gregory has quoted Salesian Missions Director, Fr. Gus Baek as saying and adding, “Not only will the new hall serve an important educational function, but it will also help raise the revenue needed to support programming and sustainability.”
The Center provides 12 major courses, which are Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA) certified. The courses include electrical installation, plumbing and pipefitting, masonry and bricklaying, motor vehicle mechanics, lathe work, IT/secretarial, tiling and terrazzo, tailoring and dressmaking, carpentry, and joinery, welding and fabrication.
Meanwhile, Salesian Missionaries in the Central African nation of Rwanda have launched feeding programs to mitigate the impact of hunger on the population, amid COVID-19-related restrictions that have left many people confined to their homes with limited means of livelihood.
The feeding programs implemented by Salesians in Africa Great Lakes Vice Province (AGL) -Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda – are being funded by the Salesian Mission Office of Krakow, Poland, which has developed a long-term project for Rwanda.
“In these days we have worked hard in favor of the most needy,” Mission Newswire, the official news service of the Salesian Missions USA, which includes news from Don Bosco Network members and other organizations affiliated with SDB, reported May 19.
“Seeing that many people were in serious difficulties due to confinement, we asked people of goodwill to intervene. Thanks to this help, we have been able to help many families. Sharing with those who have nothing is an act of charity,” Mission Newswire has quoted Br. Hubert Twagirayezu, AGL Bursar as saying.
According to Br. Hubert, “When we share with those who do not have, it’s an act of charity; when we help those who have no connection, it’s a good gesture that helps us to build the community and to build the society, because we cannot move forward alone.”
So far, the Salesians have supplied food to Caritas at the Salesian Rango Parish, Western Rwanda and Save Parish, Southern of the country, for distribution to the needy families.
“This confinement has severely affected the population, which is now facing hunger. Many cannot leave their homes to get food or go to work,” the Parish Priest of Salesians Rango Parish, Fr. Rémy Nsengiyumva has been quoted as saying.
Explaining the plight of the needy people in his Parish, Fr. Remy added, “We have people who work as hairdressers and motorcycle mechanics who no longer have a job. They have been forced to stop working. The Salesian community intervened to deal with this serious problem.”
In Save Parish, the food aid is being given to the old, the sick, orphans, and Burundian refugees hosted by the church, Fr. Fidele Mukwiye, the Priest in-charge, has shared.
Rwanda has been on a national lockdown since March 21 as a means to curb the possible spread of COVID-19, which has so far infected at least 314 people in the East African nation.
In an April 30 communique issued after a Cabinet meeting, the country’s Prime Minister, Edouard Ngirente had announced that the government would allow some people to resume work on Monday, May 4, easing the national lockdown.
Salesian Missionaries have been ministering in Rwanda for more than 50 years, providing education and social programs to give youth hope for a brighter future.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa