NEW ROCHELLE, NY (June 22, 2012) – Edson Timana, program officer with the Salesian Missions Office for International Programs, recently returned from a visit to Ecuador to oversee a site visit from officials from Population, Refugee, and Migration, a department within the Department of State.
Timana visited several Salesian-run sites in anticipation of the Department of State official visit, and had the opportunity to tour Domingo Savio Salesian School in Guayaquil, Ecuador and Kennedy Salesian School located in Quito, Ecuador. In Panama City, Panama, Timana visited Tecnico Don Bosco.
Timana went to tour the Salesian-run programs ahead of the site visits to ensure all program requirements were being met. These program requirements include flexible class schedules where classes are offered at night and on the weekends to accommodate the working schedule of Colombian refugees. Further, Timana was able to verify that the equipment and maintenance repairs being done in the programs fit within the framework and guidelines of the funding. During the site visit, Population, Refugee, and Migration officials were happy to note that some of the maintenance funds were utilized fix more than two dozen sewing machines that students utilize for classes.
Touring the schools, Timana was also able to take in the schools’ infrastructure, classes and students in the programs. These programs provide valuable education and training opportunities to Colombian refugees and other vulnerable populations. Timana’s most memorable part of the trip was meeting the Colombian refugees and listening to their stories of how much the technical training they receive is benefiting their lives. Timana found that many of them have plans to start their own businesses and have made lasting connections with teachers and faculty.
“In Guayaquil, Ecuador, I met a mother of three children who was attending Salesian training sessions and she explained that while her children play in the Salesian school field, she attends class in the same school,” explained Timana. “These programs are really providing an opportunity for people to improve their lives.”
During this same trip, Timana also visited Panama for a meeting held with other Salesian representatives from Panama, Costa Rica and the Salesian Central American Province.
“The work the Salesians are doing around the globe is crucial for the economic development of many developing countries,” added Timana. “The Salesian order focuses on providing education to youth at risk and vulnerable populations which saves many of these students from poverty.”
Salesian Missions is the U.S. development arm of the international Salesians of Don Bosco—specializing in programs and services for at-risk youth in more than 130 countries. The Salesians are widely considered the world’s largest private provider of vocational and technical education.
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