Salesians, Real Madrid Foundation Collaborating on Youth Sports in Senegal and Mozambique

At the Don Bosco Maputo Social-Sport School in Mozambique, more than 70 children and adolescents learn values ​​and improve their academic performance. Credit: Salesian Missions

Members of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) are collaborating with the Real Madrid Foundation to run schools in Senegal and Mozambique where young people participate in sports and are taught other life skills and values.

On the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, Mission Newswire, a news service of the Salesian Missions, has highlighted the importance of sports in the general development of children and young people.

“Both the Real Madrid Foundation and the Salesians are aware that sports are important for social integration and the promotion of values like teamwork, communication, respect and team spirit,” Mission Newswire has reported on Wednesday, April 6.

The information service of SDB has reported that more than 300 youth, ages 5-17, play sports and learn values ​​thanks to the two social-sports schools the Real Madrid Foundation set up in Senegal with the collaboration of the Salesian Mission Office in Madrid, Spain.

The programs are hosted at Salesian schools in Thies and Tambacounda, Mission Newswire has reported, adding that most of the project’s participants come from local Salesian centers.


As part of the Real Madrid Foundation’s “They play, we educate” program, participants receive nutrition, family and psychological support, regular health checkups, the opportunity to participate in social and educational workshops, gymnastics, crafts and reading, and citizenship activities, according to the April 6 Mission Newswire report.

Training sessions on topics such as health, hygiene, values, and the prevention of alcohol, tobacco, and drug abuse are also provided.

The partnership between the Real Madrid Foundation and the Salesians began in 2010 in Senegal and continued to schools in Central and South America.

The Salesians’ sports schools were started in Brazil and introduced in Portugal in 2012, Mission Newswire reports, and adds, “Today, the collaboration has 21 projects in 14 countries and serves nearly 4,000 children each season, using educational sport and its values as a catalyst for the social betterment of youth and communities.”

The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace is an annual celebration of the power of sport to drive social change, community development and to foster peace and understanding.

More in Africa

In their message to mark the sports day, SDB members highlight other projects targeting young people in Mozambique and Uganda.

In Mozambique, Don Bosco Maputo is also offering a Real Madrid Social-Sports School in the country’s capital city.

Through soccer and basketball, more than 70 children and adolescents in Mozambique learn values ​​and improve their academic performance.

“For three days a week, the students at Don Bosco Maputo participate in training sessions,” Mission Newswire reports, and adds, “Mandatory lockdowns as a result of the pandemic decreased sports activities and the number of participants. The project turned to the distribution of food, masks and protective devices as well as awareness-raising initiatives about COVID-19 to avoid infections.”

In Uganda, a new basketball court is now available to youth at Palabek Refugee Resettlement Camp, which Salesians started in 2016.


Mission Newswire reports that the idea of creating a space for youth to play sports began in 2019 when a benefactor gave a basketball to the youth.

“At the time, there was no place where they could use it (basketball). From that day forward, youth have been waiting to see a court built where they could play and connect with their peers,” the information service of the SDB reports.

Palabek Refugee Resettlement Camp was started to reduce congestion in larger refugee camps in the Northwestern part of Uganda.

Mission Newswire reports that several agencies are involved in providing food and education within the camp, adding that while some of these agencies have left because of COVID-19, Salesians have remained.

“Salesian missionaries at the settlement are offering much needed psychosocial support and pastoral care for thousands of Christian residents,” the SDB information service indicates.

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SDB members “also operate four nursery schools that educate more than 1,000 children,” the news agency reports, adding that there are also children attending Salesian primary and secondary schools, and that more than 700 families are supported by other initiatives.

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.