Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Salesians in Benin’s Kandi Diocese Reaching Out to “abused, abandoned children”

 SDB Logos & Designs (Salesians of Don Bosco Digital Graphics) | Salesian  Family of Don Bosco

Foyer Don Bosco, a children’s home under the auspices of members of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) in the Catholic Diocese of Kandi, Benin, is providing for the basic needs of “abused and abandoned children”.

In a report published Monday, January 16, SDB officials say, “Children at Foyer Don Bosco (Don Bosco Kandi), a home for abused and abandoned children in Kandi, Benin, have their needs met.”

With funding from the U.S-based development arm of SDB, Salesian Missions, Salesians involved in the initiative say that dozens have been assisted with clothing, school fees, and food.

“The funding covered food for three months, school fees for 10 children, and clothing for 50 children at Christmas,” the SDB officials say.

In the report, Salesian officials say that Kandi township is made up of an “influx of children who are on their own,” and that the children are “sometimes sold on the black market and exploited in the workforce.” 

“Children in Benin face significant challenges gaining an education within the country’s poor educational system," SDB officials say, and add, “Youth in Benin also face overwhelming challenges in combating poverty, one of the root causes of child trafficking.”

According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Benin remains one of the poorest countries in the world with close to 70 percent of its population living in poverty.

“About half of all children between the ages of 5 and 13 are engaged in some kind of forced labor in the country and almost 20 percent are chronically undernourished,” UNICEF reports.

In their January 16 report, the Salesians say they received support from UNICEF to establish the home that accommodates the children while guiding them to other homes or trying to find their families.

The Salesians at the institution that relies on donations from people of goodwill are collaborating with law enforcement officers to rescue children in high-risk situations.

“In collaboration with the juvenile courts of Benin, minors who are in conflict with the law and in high-risk situations are assisted by the Salesians,” SDB officials say, and continue, “The border police also intercept children being trafficked from Niger and Burkina Faso.”

In the report, two beneficiaries of the Don Bosco institution express their appreciation to the Salesians. 

“I celebrated Christmas well at Don Bosco Kandi and received beautiful clothes and had a nice party. Thank you and may the Lord bless you,” Leon Kansomede, aged 8 has been quoted as saying.

On her part, Kaifatou Tino, a sewing apprentice whose school fees was paid for, says she is optimistic about the future thanks to the financial help from the SDBs.

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