Human language

Human Rights Day: Salesian missions highlight programs that ensure young people understand their rights – Colombia

Programs help poor youth get an education, understand their rights and lift themselves out of poverty

(MissionNewswire) Salesian missions, the American development branch of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins humanitarian organizations and the international community in celebrating Human Rights Day, which is celebrated every year on December 10. Human Rights Day commemorates the day in 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of Human Rights.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been translated into over 500 languages. This landmark document proclaimed the inalienable rights to which everyone is intrinsically entitled as a human being, without distinction of race, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property , birth or any other status.

This year’s theme is “Equality – Reducing Inequalities, Advancing Human Rights” and emphasizes that the principles of equality and non-discrimination are at the heart of human rights . The UN notes that equality is aligned with the 2030 Agenda and the United Nations approach defined in the Shared Framework document to leave no one behind: equality and non-discrimination at the heart of sustainable development. This includes addressing and finding solutions for the deep-rooted forms of discrimination that have affected the most vulnerable people in societies.

Through education and social development programs, Salesian missionaries in over 130 countries around the world work to ensure that all young people know their rights, are able to participate fully in their communities and make their voices heard. voice.

Whether it is fighting against child labor, helping homeless young people or building schools where children previously had no access to education, Salesian missionaries educate young people about their rights. and ensure access to the programs and services they need. Working in more than 5,500 Salesian educational institutions and youth centers around the world, missionaries educate children in some of the poorest places on the planet.

“Education is always our main goal, but we know that young people have much more than a simple need to have access to education,” said Fr Gus Baek, director of the Salesian missions. “The Salesians provide human rights education which gives vulnerable young people a sense of personal dignity and self-esteem. In Salesian schools, young children receive an education, learn their rights and freedoms, and participate in sports and other activities, all in a safe environment that encourages learning and growth.

In honor of Human Rights Day, the Salesian Missions highlight unique educational programs that help poor young people to receive an education, understand their rights and come out of poverty, providing them with life. hope for the future.


Don Bosco International participated in a meeting organized by the Fundamental Rights Platform, a body of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, based in Vienna, Austria. During the meeting “Human rights in difficult times – a way forward”, the Salesians held the session “Promoting the rights of young citizens of third countries in alternative assistance services”.

The session, chaired by Renato Cursi, Executive Secretary of Don Bosco International, focused on unaccompanied foreign minors and young third country nationals who received support, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Momodou Jallow, a young Gambian who arrived as a minor in Italy, spoke at the meeting. He told the intense story of his childhood and the challenges he faced once in Italy. He also underlined the opportunities he had thanks to the Salesians for Social in Naples. Today he enjoys football and studying, and he does volunteer work. He has also just started an internship.

Jallow’s testimony highlighted key points about issues related to the reception of migrant children and young adults, the transition of young people to adulthood and the risks of leaving their social services. Jallow also gave a voice to young migrants and their experiences, and stressed the importance of increased support for young people. He continues to be engaged with his community and a voice for those in need, helping to collect and distribute food during the pandemic.


Salesian missionaries give hope for a better life to former child soldiers of the Don Bosco Vocational Training Center (Don Bosco Center) in Cali, Colombia. The country’s guerrillas have claimed more than 300,000 lives and fueled the growth of powerful drug cartels. The Don Bosco Center offers a chance for rehabilitation to young people who were torn from their families at a young age and forced to shoot, throw bombs or become servants of officers and sexually abused.

When they arrive at the Don Bosco Center, the young people receive a uniform and tools that correspond to the profession they have chosen to learn. Most importantly, they have the opportunity to reclaim their personal identity and start rebuilding their self-esteem and confidence in others.

The Don Bosco Center has a team of professionals who help young people to establish a formation plan. Young people can take courses to become electricians, industrial mechanics, auto repair technicians, cooks, tailors, beauticians, welders, computer scientists, accountants, librarians or commercial secretaries. The workshops are the cornerstone of development. Young people learn about safety rules, operate machines and products, and take life skills training to help them personally and professionally.

Currently, five Salesians support 30 young people in the program. For security reasons, the young people live in the center. Their names have not been removed from the lists kept by the guerrilla leaders, who aim to put them back into service or to avenge their departure. At the center, the young people learn to readjust to a normal life: to share a meal with friends, to have free time and to understand the rules of a peaceful coexistence. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these young people stepped up and used their new skills to create masks for the city’s residents.


The Father Michel Salesian Formation Center in Bamako, the capital and largest city of Mali, brings joy, provides education and cultivates peace among older children and young people. The center keeps its doors open all day and provides support to hundreds of young people in the Niarela neighborhood and on the outskirts of the city.

Young people come to the center to play sports, learn music or study in its library. The center offers a haven of peace where young people have the opportunity to live, dream of a future, study and learn the importance of getting involved and working together as a group. They can express themselves freely and access support from adults.

The goal is to keep young people aged 12 to 25 away from the streets and from harmful habits such as alcohol or drugs. Instead, young people are offered an educational space in their free time that promotes cultural activities and enables the development of values.

In November 2020, Bosco Global and the municipality of Pozoblanco in Spain, launched a project to support the center. During the past year, the Salesian missionaries have been able to access the sports facilities of the women’s basketball team, set up a musical training center and organize health and hygiene awareness days to prevent disease. and promote a healthy lifestyle. The young people of the music training center are currently organizing an event to celebrate the one-year support project for Bosco Global.


Opening of a new juvenile justice center at the Immaculate Salesian Refuge of Kara, Go, in October 2019. The center is the result of collaboration between UNICEF, the Togolese State and the Salesian community of Kara. The objective is to provide support to minors in conflict with the law, and it supports the new Togolese regulations on juvenile justice.

The official inauguration of the center took place on October 8, 2020 in the presence of various administrative and religious authorities. After the presentation of the various guests, the host of the day presented the program to 40 participants.

In his welcome speech, the prefect of the city of Kara, Colonel Balai, greeted the inauguration of the new center and thanked the Salesian community and UNICEF for their continued efforts to provide education and rehabilitation to children in conflict with the law. The Rector of the Salesian community of Kara expressed his gratitude to UNICEF and the Togolese State and promised that the community will take the greatest care in this project.

The center will provide legal protection to child victims, witnesses or alleged perpetrators of crimes, including through civil and administrative proceedings. Juvenile justice officials have strengthened structures to ensure better implementation of the Juvenile Code in accordance with international guidelines and standards on juvenile justice.


ANS Photos (permissions for use and guidelines should be requested from SNA)

AUSTRIA: Salesians promote the rights of young citizens

COLOMBIA: 30 former child soldiers rebuild trust in others

MALI: the center offers a refuge for young people

Salesian missions

TOGO: new center guarantees respect for youth rights in juvenile justice system

The United Nations – Human Rights Day 2021