Salesians Empowering Young Mothers in Rwanda Through Vocational Training Initiatives

One of the young mothers at the Don Bosco Technical and Vocational Training School in Rango in Rwanda's Butare Diocese. Credit: Salesian Missions

Members of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) in Rwanda are reaching out to young mothers through vocational training initiatives being realized at the Don Bosco Technical and Vocational Training School in Rango in the country’s Butare Diocese.

In a Thursday, August 19 report obtained by ACI Africa, officials of the SDB development arm, Salesian Missions, say, “The rate of teenage pregnancies in the country has had exponential growth in recent years and is becoming a major obstacle to social and economic development among the poorest populations.”

“Salesians have launched projects to help educate and promote family involvement while also providing skills training so that young mothers can find employment or start a small business, ensuring that they can live in a dignified manner with their children,” 

Officials of the New York-based entity recall that recently, in collaboration with the Salesian Mission Office in Turin, Italy, “Salesian missionaries launched a project to purchase 40 sewing machines to train and empower young mothers so they can acquire the skills to start a small business.”

“Launching a modest tailoring or dressmaking shop or a simple sewing workshop can help provide an income for families,” SDB members in Rwanda are quoted as saying in the August 19 report.


According to the report, the Don Bosco Technical and Vocational Training School in Rango currently offers courses in construction, carpentry, welding and sewing. 

“Each course spans two years of training, and the majority of students in the program are youth who come from vulnerable situations and have been living in poverty,” Salesian Missions officials say.

They add, “Youth are 17-25 years old, and some are single mothers looking to improve their lives for their children.”

“Providing young mothers an opportunity to learn the skills for employment helps to raise a family out of poverty,” the Director of Salesian Missions, Fr. Gus Baek, has been quoted as saying in the August 19 report.

Fr. Baek adds, “Once working, young women can provide for their families and also ensure that their children are able to have a good start in life and later also gain an education.”

More in Africa

Initially established to accommodate young Salesians preparing to become Priests, the Don Bosco Technical and Vocational Training School now serves as the site for technical and vocational education for young people, a large number of them coming from poor families.

Salesian missionaries have had a presence in the Great Lakes region of Rwanda for more than 50 years, providing education and social programs to give young people in the country hope for a better and brighter future.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.