(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries have continued to respond to long-term reconstruction and educational needs after two earthquakes in 2015 caused massive destruction in Nepal. A devastating 7.8 earthquake struck the country on April 25, 2015, followed by a second earthquake that struck on May 12. More than 8,000 people died and close to 20,000 were injured as a result of the earthquakes and their aftermath.
Forty of Nepal’s 75 districts were affected, 16 of them severely, with homes, schools, buildings, cattle, fields ready for harvest and other property destroyed. More than 500,000 people were displaced and were in need of shelter and other assistance. The United Nations reported that more than 1,300 schools were destroyed during the earthquakes.
Salesian missionaries with the Don Bosco Network entered into an agreement with the government of Nepal for the reconstruction of 12 public schools in areas most affected by the earthquakes. To date, 10 schools have been built and equipped in small villages in the Kathmandu valley. Salesian programs are also helping to supply school materials and train teachers in order to offer children quality education.
In order to address the shortfall in qualified people to help in the aftermath of disasters, as well as address long-term education and employment needs of youth in the region, Salesian missionaries created the “Forming Future Helpers” program. The program created training modules at four Don Bosco Centers in Biratnagar, Chakraghatti, Sirsia and Thecho. Twenty-three boys across the four Don Bosco centers are receiving training in a range of subjects.
The boys attending the program go to their regular school and colleges and also receive intensive training on intellectual, spiritual and social subjects to help them cope with their extra responsibilities in addition to their daily studying. They are also given motivational sessions, and spiritual and moral guidance.
Because the boys are from local villages, they do not have much background in spoken and written English language so part of their education is learning these skills. The boys also learn management skills related to time and punctuality, self-esteem building, and the importance of spirituality and prayer.
In addition, Salesian missionaries offer education talks during assembly and in the evenings on topics like caring for one another, respect for people, cleanliness, and learning how to stop wasting water, electricity and food. The boys are able to use the skills they are learning with interaction with their teachers, Salesian missionaries and other staff, as well as guests and visitors at the centers.
“Salesian missionaries living and working in Nepal have been engaged in long-term reconstruction efforts, helping communities to rebuild homes and schools, and important training to increase the capacity of communities to deal effectively in the aftermath of disasters,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions. “One of the primary training efforts underway is helping to further the reconstruction efforts and put those in the community who have lost their livelihoods back to work. Salesian missionaries are using their training centers across Nepal to train young men and women in a range of subject including building and construction skills needed to assist in reconstruction.”
Don Bosco Society – First Quarterly Report – Intensive Training and Formation of Future Helpers for Developmental Work in the Earth Quake Affected Districts of Nepal