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Salesian Entity Facilitates Self-Sustainability Initiatives for Catholic School in Eritrea

Fr. Abba Petros Abraha with students of the Don Bosco Technical School in Dekemhare, Eritrea/Credit: Salesian Missions

The U.S.-based development arm of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), Salesian Missions, is facilitating self-sustainability initiatives at the Don Bosco Technical School in Dekemhare, a town located some 25 miles Southeast of Eritrea's capital, Asmara.

In a Monday, June 14 report obtained by ACI Africa, SDB members at the Eritrean Salesian institution say they have been able “to buy two cows and food items thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions.”

“This is now three cows we have been able to buy with Salesian Missions funding and it’s greatly helping our program,” says Fr. Abba Petros Abraha, a Salesian missionary at the technical school. 

Fr. Abraha adds, “The project of raising cows is so that we will have the income to sustain our community and our technical school. The vision is to be self-sufficient in the long run.”

“We have launched some initiatives like the production of furniture for sale and planting vegetables to reach our vision,” Fr. Abraha further says and continues, “We are also selling milk to our neighbors, which has been going well.”

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SDB members say they hope to have funding for additional cows and to enlarge the barn to increase their self-sustainability initiatives.

The Don Bosco Technical School in Dekemhare has 400 boys and girls enrolled in the program where courses in automotive work, general metal, general mechanics, carpentry, building construction, woodwork or furniture making, electricity, electronics, and surveying are offered. 

In addition, students take information technology and academic courses in the two-year program, which concludes with a national exam. The students also take part in the military training for six months and are assigned a job by the government.

Salesian missionaries also have aspirant training and a youth center.

The East African nation of Eritrea has a population of approximately 5.5 million, of which 69 percent is estimated to live in poverty, according to the World Bank. 

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While agriculture contributes 13 percent to the country’s economy, it employs nearly 80 percent of the population. Because of Eritrea’s rocky and mountainous terrain, and, in part, the persistent drought, only 12 percent of the total land is suitable for farming.