On World Education Day, Salesians Highlight Initiatives for Africa’s Vulnerable Youth

In Madagascar, youth receive an education as part of the comprehensive support provided at a Salesian-run center. Credit: Salesian Missions

On the annual event of the International Day of Education (IDE) marked January 24, the leadership of the U.S-based development arm of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), Salesian Missions, has highlighted educational initiatives for vulnerable youth across the globe, including Africa.

In a Tuesday, January 24 report, officials of the SDB entity say Salesians facilitate the provision of formal education to enable the youth align with local employment needs and fend for themselves and their respective families.

“Salesians provide primary and secondary schools and are considered the largest private provider of vocational and technical training in the world,” Salesian Missions officials say.

They add, “Programs focus on helping vulnerable youth by providing access to educational opportunities that match the local employment needs.”

The officials of the SDB entity say that there are about 1,000 Salesian vocational, technical, professional, and agricultural schools that focus on serving poor and needy youth across the globe.


In the Indian Ocean Island nation of Madagascar, the Salesian-run Notre Dame de Clairvaux Center, a home for the orphaned, at-risk, or street children that are located in Ivato houses more than 100 youth aged between 12 and 22 years.

According to the January 24 report, Salesians are seeking a better future for the children in the school by providing them with comprehensive support, including medical care, food, clothing, shelter, and education.

Besides comprehensive support, Salesian officials say that the children are also exposed to “technical and vocational training in subjects like automotive mechanics, welding, agriculture, animal husbandry, carpentry, and masonry.”

“These subjects are available to enhance youth’s employable skills but also address the needs of the community,” SDB officials say, and continue, “In addition to job skills training, the center has a job search office with a coordinator who helps youth who are graduating find and retain stable work.”

In Zambia, Salesian officials say that the City of Hope in the country’s capital, Lusaka, is benefiting a number of vulnerable youth who have been abused, live on the streets, or are victims of child trafficking.

More in Africa

SDB officials say that in 2021, the school run by the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco received a donation of furniture from UK-based entity, the Reuse Network.

“The City of Hope’s Open Community School serves those suffering from malnutrition, lack of education, and family deprivation. Basic education is offered to youth between the ages of 9-17,” the officials say.

They explain, “Primary school classes make up the first four years, after which students take the government’s grade seven examinations. Most City of Hope students (do) not have the opportunity to attend other schools because of a lack of financial means.”

In Kenya, the officials say that “Don Bosco Boys Town (Bosco Boys), located in Nairobi, launched the dual apprenticeship training program focused on the latest plumbing technology.”

Approved by Kenya’s Ministry of Education, made possible through the Swiss contact, and funded by the Hilti Foundation in Switzerland, the officials say that the program “will train 50 students in its initial class and is the first of its kind in the East African nation.”


With about 10 top plumbing companies in the East African country as partners, SDB officials say that the project seeks to provide apprentices with the latest technology that “bridges the gap between training institutions and job market needs.”

“The two-year technical training provides youth with a wide variety of skills to choose from, including tailoring, car engineering/mechanics, carpentry, electrical work, and welding, as well as secretarial skills and a full spectrum of computer-related job skills,” the officials say.

They explain, “After graduation, more than 80 percent of graduates are employed in their fields of study. Many students go on to attend university or establish their own businesses and become entrepreneurs in Nairobi.”

In their 2023 IDE report, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) says 244 million children and youth are out of school while 771 million adults are illiterate.

“There is a crisis in foundational learning, literacy, and numeracy skills among young learners. 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic math; less than 40 percent of girls in Sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school and some 4 million children and youth refugees are out of school,” says UNESCO.

(Story continues below)

IDE was instituted in 2018 by the United Nations General Assembly to celebrate the role of education in peace and development.

This year’s theme for IDE is, “To invest in people, prioritize education” and calls for maintaining strong political mobilization around education.

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.