The overall aim of this project is to give each child a basic education, that is to enable him or her to read and write, thus giving hope for self development. Our mission is “A hand up, not a hand out,” so that these children, who come from extremely poor backgrounds, might have a chance of overcoming their misery.
Childhood does not exist for most of these children: extreme poverty and about 80% are AIDS orphans, and many being HIV positive. Without us, food is mainly salvaged from rubbish bins. Our aim is to try and help them recapture their lost childhood. We want them to laugh and play and give them a sense of their own self-worth and dignity.
It was in 1994 that the Salesian Sisters established a Sewing Group, a Pre School and Creche. A multipurpose hall, which included two classrooms, was built with the help of the Salesian Fathers. The hall helped with accommodating 150 children. Three local teachers were employed and a literacy programme and Life Skills are subjects in the daily time-table.
This project is now combined with the Declan Collins Educational Centre, which was initiated after the death of Fr. Declan Collins, who was murdered at the Parish House in November 2002.
Father Collins worked closely with the Salesian Sisters in Finetown, who ran a crèche, Sancta Maria, and the Laura Vicuña Educational Centre (LVEC). The LVEC caters for children who are not attending school for various reasons, but mainly as a result of poverty. It was Father Collins’s dream to extend help to those who have reached an age where they could no longer be prepared for formal schooling and could no longer be catered for at the Laura Vicuña Centre and therefore needed not only life-skills but also employable skills.
The three levels of intervention, crèche, school, and skills training, together, are known as the Don Bosco Educational Projects. Laura Vicuña Centre and the Declan Collins Centre have their own campus in Ennerdale Ext 6, corner of Zirconium and Witherite Streets. The Sancta Maria Crèche continues to have its home in Finetown.
All these programmes are in close proximity to the residents of Finetown, Mountain View, Ennerdale Ext 6, and within easy reach of those further away. The area is known for its high unemployment, poverty, child abuse, HIV / AIDS, child headed families and other social ills.
The Don Bosco Educational Centre as a group, addresses not only the educational dimension, but also attempts to deal with the social issues too. Medical assistance, food and nutrition, and counselling.
How can you help?
Clothing, equipment, and financial aid are in desperate need. If you are able help us to give these children some love and laughter, these women a sense of dignity and future employment, please go to our donations page. Thank you.
For more information please contact us.