BOLIVIA: Salesian Missions Celebrates Inauguration of Muyurina Agricultural School and New Multi-Use Center

MUYURINA, Bolivia (January 7, 2010) – On December 9, 2009, Salesian Missions celebrated the inauguration of the new Muyurina Agricultural School and brand new Multi-Use Center in Bolivia. Funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the generosity of American donors made this project possible.

Salesian Missions has been providing agricultural education in Muyurina for over fifty years, according to Matt Welsh, program officer with Salesian Missions. Although the school’s academic and technical programs had grown in size, scope and diversity, many of the original structures that were built in the late 1950s and early 1960s were in desperate need of repair.

When Salesian Missions approached USAID’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad Program regarding the possibility of assisting with this project in 2006, Muyurina had grown by leaps and bounds since its early days of operation. Today,it is a school of nearly 800 students, offering a range of degree programs, including a post-secondary program that is recognized by the Catholic University of Bolivia.

The new Multi-Use Center provides meeting space for the school and is available for a fee for local clubs and community groups to hold events and retreats in the space. The fee is used as infrastructure support and to subsidize tuition for students.

In addition, this project provided much needed renovation to the school’s electric and water systems and the purchase of agricultural equipment helps to provide a better educational experience for the youth in attendance.

“The agricultural school offers more than just agricultural training,” said Welsh. “This is part of a larger program that also offers traditional secondary education and other vocational training, in addition to feeding programs for area children.”

“Many of the children attending the school come from an agricultural background but often their families have never received formal agricultural education and training,” said Welsh. “The academic preparation provided enables youth to implement farming methods that are more efficient, which increases crop yields and delivers a food supply more readily accessible to their families and communities.”

The Salesians currently operates more than 90 agricultural schools around the world and has been providing educational, vocational and health programs for youth in Bolivia for more than 100 years. Thanks to generous U.S. donors, Salesian Missions raises funds to support programs like this one in countries around the globe.

Salesian Missions provides not only educational opportunities in more than 130 countries around the globe, they address core needs.

“The core of our mission is to provide educational opportunities to the poorest of the poor. When the youth receive training, they stay and contribute to the local economy and the needs of their communities,” said Welsh. “This delivers benefits for years after they leave our institute.”

ABOUT SALESIAN MISSIONS: Salesian Missions is headquartered in New Rochelle, NY. The mission of the U.S.-based nonprofit Catholic organization is to raise funds for its international programs that serve youth and families in poor communities around the globe. The Salesian missionaries are made up of priests, brothers and sisters, as well as laypeople – all dedicated to caring for poor children throughout the world in more than 130 countries, helping young people become self-sufficient by learning a trade that will help them gain employment. To date, more than 3 million youth have received services funded by Salesian Missions. These services and programs are provided to children regardless of race or religion. To date, more than 5 million Americans have contributed financially to this work.