23/2/2016 - Cambodia - 39 Bicycles for students supported
by Don Bosco Children Fund
(ANS – Phnom Penh) – Joseph Sinnott, a Salesian High School student and Eagle Scout, completed a project to collect and repair bicycles for Salesian students in Cambodia. At the end of 2015, 39 bicycles were distributed to students supported by the Don Bosco Children Fund, a Salesian-run organization that assists poor youth between the ages of six and fifteen who are either unable to go to school or have had to drop out due to poverty.
Students from four Salesian schools in the Cambodian provinces of Kep, Kampot and Takeo were selected to receive the bicycles after Salesian volunteers had visited the schools to determine which children were most in need of transportation. Many children live in remote areas of the country and must travel great distances to gain an education. The donated bicycles will provide the transportation necessary to help students reach their schools faster and more efficiently.
“In a country where less than half the children finish primary school, more than 50,000 children have received the encouragement and support needed to complete an elementary education through the Don Bosco Children Fund since its inception in 1992,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “This donation is a great example of a Salesian student from the United States who has benefitted from an education, paying it forward by helping students on the other side of the world access education.”
The donation also included spare bicycle parts and tire pumps as well as eight bags of gently used blankets for the students. Through the Don Bosco Children Fund’s programs, youth not only receive support to continue their education, they also receive a monthly assistance package. Social workers ensure that youth make progress and remain in school and those with special aptitude are further supported and encouraged to pursue college coursework.
Today, close to a quarter of Cambodians over the age of 15 are illiterate. To provide youth with greater opportunity, Salesian missionaries in the country operate 45 schools in poor, rural villages through a partnership between Salesian Missions and the Ministry of Education. Salesian missionaries also operate seven vocational training centers that impart much needed job skills.