Salesians in Benin’s Kandi Township Reaching Out to Children in “complex situations”

Children at Foyer Don Bosco in Benin have basic needs met thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions. Credit: Salesian Missions

Foyer Don Bosco, a children’s home under the auspices of members of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) in Eastern Benin is benefiting abandoned and abused children in the country’s Kandi township.

In a Tuesday, June 28 report, officials of the Salesian Missions, the U.S.-based SDB development arm, say that the entity serves both children of both gender “in very complex situations”.

“Foyer Don Bosco serves boys and girls in very complex situations, including those who have been abandoned by their families, victims of abuse, and victims of forced marriages,” SDB officials say in the June 28 report.

With the funding from the Salesian Missions, SDB officials say that dozens have been assisted with basic human needs. 

“The funding covered new clothing for 30 children. Additional funding provided food support for 36 children, as well as cleaning products and medicines for the infirmary. Ten girls and boys have also benefited from the purchase of toolboxes for various trades,” the officials say.


In the report, Salesian officials say that Kandi township is made up of an “influx of children who are on their own,” and that the children are “sometimes sold on the black market and exploited in the workforce.” 

A home to help the children was initiated with the support of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to accommodate the children, the June 28 report indicates.

“In collaboration with the juvenile courts of Benin, minors who are in conflict with the law and in high-risk situations are assisted by the Salesians,” SDB officials say, and add, “The border police also intercept children being trafficked from Niger and Burkina Faso.”

Don Bosco home in Kandi township mainly “relies on donations so that Salesians can provide youth with food, clothing, education and medical care,” the report indicates, adding that there are about 40 youth aged between 5 and 15.

SDB members “work with families” in view of providing “reunification when appropriate”, the June 28 report shows. 

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The report further highlights two beneficiaries of the initiative who express their appreciation for the Salesian initiative in Kandi township.

“Thank you for your support. My housemates and I are happy to have new outfits to celebrate like other children who are with their parents,” Coco Benie, young boarder at Foyer Don Bosco in Kandi township is quoted as saying in the report.

Mounanvi Mariano, a tailor with Foyer Don Bosco who is also a beneficiary of the SDB initiative in Benin says, “Thanks to the help of Salesian Missions, I was able to get glasses which have allowed me to see better and to accelerate my learning.”

“Children in Benin face significant challenges gaining an education within the country’s poor educational system,” SDB officials say in the report.

According to UNICEF, in Benin, “About half of all children between the ages of 5 and 13 are engaged in some kind of forced labor in the country and almost 20 percent are chronically undernourished.”


“Youth in Benin also face overwhelming challenges in combating poverty, one of the root causes of child trafficking,” UNICEF has reported.

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.