Salesians and VIS volunteers provide education, clean water projects and social support throughout the country
(MissionNewswire) Even in the face of ongoing violence, Salesian missionaries and the Salesian-run International Voluntary Service for Development (VIS) are providing education, professional training, and development projects in Ethiopia. Salesians have been in the country since 1976 and were there as support during the famine in 1983-1985, which caused millions of deaths. Now Salesians have been a support through the COVID-19 pandemic and the humanitarian crisis from escalating violence in the Tigray region. The country is also once again facing famine generated by the invasion of locusts.
Salesian missionaries have four centers in Macallè, Adua, Scirè and Adigrat in the Tigray region where the clashes between the National Army and the Tigray Popular Liberation Front have continued for more than a year. Salesians continue to help children and youth who have stories of violence, abuse, and despair behind them.
Thanks to the donations of many benefactors, thousands of children in recent years have been welcomed into Salesian centers and have been able to attend Salesian kindergartens and primary schools. In addition, street children have received vocational training.
In 1998, VIS volunteers joined Salesian missionaries in the Tigray region and began projects to ensure local populations had access to clean water for drinking, washing, cooking and proper sanitation. VIS finds local partners like the Don Gianmaria Memorial Development Association to carry out water, sanitation and hygiene projects.
VIS is also involved in providing vocational training and education. Within Salesian technical schools in the Tigray and Gambella regions and the city of Addis Ababa, courses have been taught in tailoring, food preparation and catering, carpentry, motor mechanics, leather goods, and construction trades. VIS has also provided graphics and typographic arts courses at the first printing school in the country—set up by VIS and the Salesians.
“To promote job placement, we have developed a strategy, which we have adopted in Tigray and Addis Ababa, based on short courses in line with the labor market, the promotion of self-employment, and placement in private firms through support for partnerships between the public and private sectors,” explained one VIS volunteer.
Training activities were also provided in refugee camps in the Gambella and Tigray regions. Thanks to collaboration with the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, Salesians have worked to improve living conditions for refugees through strengthening their professional skills and providing job placement for Eritrean migrants and refugees.
Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world with more than 38 percent of its population living in poverty, according to Feed the Future. Close to 85 percent of the country’s workforce is employed in agriculture, but frequent droughts severely affect the agricultural economy leaving more than 12 million people chronically, or at least periodically, food insecure. In addition, more than two-thirds of the population is illiterate.
ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)
Salesian Missions – Ethiopia
UNICEF – Ethiopia