Thanks to the generosity of many benefactors, the Salesians in Liberia can now equip a new scientific laboratory and expand the academic courses and fields being offered, so as to welcome new students into the “Mary Help of Christians” school in the Matadi district of Monrovia, capital of Liberia. In this way the center managed by the Salesians can continue to extend the structures and services offered to the needy population.
The “Mary Help of Christians” school started operating in 1993 and currently hosts almost 600 students, from children to secondary school students. It provides education and support for children and adolescents who otherwise would have very few opportunities to improve their lives. At the school the Salesians have also developed a food program that guarantees a nutritious meal a day to over 100 students.
The country is still in the phase of recovery from the Ebola epidemic that between 2014 and 2016 struck circa 11,000 people and left over 4,800 dead. Liberia has been the country where the disease has manifested itself in the most lethal form, why the Salesians dedicate themselves with great effort to the children left orphans: to provide them with ongoing care and to ensure that they also do not lose educational opportunities.
Other Salesian programs launched in recent years provide food, health care and education to children with the ultimate goal of reintegrating them into their families.
The Ebola disease, which arrived when the country was trying to recover from two consecutive civil wars being waged since 2003, plunged the country into a serious economic and social crisis, which brought it back to levels of extreme poverty.
With a population of less than 5 million inhabitants, 64% of Liberians currently live below the poverty line and 1.3 million of them live in extreme poverty. For this reason, Salesian programs in Liberia offer young people the opportunity to reach their potential through educational and social projects. In recent years, accompanied by Salesian volunteers and Catholic schools, the spiritual Sons of Don Bosco have been able to help over 2,300 students with their families.
In addition to the “Mary Help of Christians” school, the “Don Bosco” Youth Center is also active in Monrovia, which supports young people with extracurricular and leisure activities. Young people can participate daily in recreational and sports activities and attend workshops of singing, dance, theater, circus …
They can also complete their formation through the vocational training courses, among which there are specific fields for girls and women, so that they can become self-sufficient and be entrepreneurs.