Salesians’ Classroom Construction Initiative Benefiting Learners at Zambian Community

Students at the Salesian secondary school in the Zatti community in Kabwe, Zambia. Credit: Salesian Missions

Learners at the Salesian secondary school in Zambia’s Zatti community are benefiting from the classroom construction project undertaken by members of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), a report indicates.

In the Tuesday, June 21 report, officials of the Salesian Missions, the U.S.-based SDB development arm, say that beside classrooms, the “project also installed new toilets for the classrooms”.

“Salesians were able to construct the foundation, roofing, walls, windows and doors of the classrooms, as well as install electrical and plumbing. They also furnished the classrooms,” SDB officials say in the June 21 report.

The report indicates that a total of 350 learners including 150 male and 200 female are direct beneficiaries of the project that is located in Kabwe, Zambia.

Salesian officials say that most of the households in Zatti community “are vulnerable”, and that “education is needed so that the youth can learn the skills for employment.” They say that the locals initially relied on mining jobs, which later depleted, leaving them with nothing.


“Those jobs have left the area due to privatized mines, leaving a large percentage of the population unemployed,” SDB officials say, and add, “Young girls are especially at risk because they often cannot get an education and find themselves on the streets facing exploitation.”

In the June 21 report, the officials of the New York-based Salesian entity paint a bleak picture of the situation of young people in the Zambian community, saying, “Many youths in the region are forced to beg for money or engage in drug abuse and criminal activities.”

“The community where the school is based has many youth living in the area, and the other schools could not meet the demand for education, particularly grades 8-12,” SDB officials say about the initiative that was realized in partnership with other educational entities and an agreement with the Zambian government.

“The Salesian secondary school filled the gap for poor youth who could not afford other schools,” Salesian officials say, and add, “The goal is to provide training to equip them with the skills and the knowledge so they can live a self-sustainable life.”

In the June 21 report, the Director of Salesian Missions, Fr. Gus Baek, expresses his appreciation to all the donors who participated in the construction of the classrooms that are part of the initiative seeking to empower the youth through education.

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“We appreciate the donors who were able to help this Salesian secondary school build more classrooms to meet the growing demand for education. Gaining an education with the skills needed for employment enables youth to take care of themselves and their families, improving their lives and their communities,” Fr. Baek is quoted as saying.

The report further indicates, “Poverty is widespread in Zambia with 64 percent of the total population living below the poverty line. For those living in rural areas, the poverty rate rises to 80 percent, according to UNICEF.”

Income in Zambia has fallen steadily over the past three decades and people do not have enough money to meet basic needs such as shelter, nutritious food, and medical care, SDB officials say in the report, adding, “The HIV/AIDS epidemic has also taken a devastating toll on Zambia’s children.”

They continue, “There are 1.2 million children classified as orphaned and vulnerable by UNICEF, and these children struggle to find education, basic services and hope for their future.”

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.