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.
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.”