Focus 2005

Sierra Leon - SUO01-05-2005

Project: The Mission of the Sierra Leone
Date of foundation: 1985
Place: Ashaiman - Ghana
Province: AFW

The Salesians have been in Sierra Leone for almost 20 years. They were transplanted there from California to live among the people in the quite large village of Lungi and in Freetown, the capital.
As one would expect from Don Bosco’s sons the school and young people are the activities to which the Salesians in Sierra Leone devoted their energies and they continue to do so.

St. Augustine Secondary school. This High School has become the pride and the highly desirable goal for boys and girls in our neighbourhood and also from further afield. At present it has 1000 students.

The “Don Bosco” Technical School. This is the other work of which we are very proud. It is a school very well accepted by the people and by the civil and scholastic authorities. It is directed at slightly older youngsters, boys and girls about twenty years of age or older who want to learn a trade to set themselves up in life. Most of the girls who attend the school are already mothers and most of them are not married. The training courses last for two years and at the end they can obtain a diploma that is recognised by the Ministry of Education.

Agriculture: the students themselves look after the large stretch of agricultural land and sell the produce.
Building: for a number of years in this part of Sierra Leone there has been a great increase in building works and the course offered by “Don Bosco” is well attended and much appreciated.
Carpentry: for the courses in carpentry we have a good supply of hand-tools and equipment and also a good number of electrical-powered machines.
Computer: the computer-room is well-equipped and open from morning till night since it is in such demand, and it is open not only for our students but also for the local people.
Printing: the printing department is well equipped with a considerable variety of machines. As well as learning graphics the students stay behind after school hours to produce practical work and so begin to earn a little income even as apprentices.
Animal husbandry: this course offered by the school includes chickens, pigs, goats, sheep and cows. The students do the work and the proceeds go to maintain their families.
Human development: for the girl mothers, the school has a good number of sewing machines. As well as sewing the girls learn to make soap and to dye material in various colours.
After attending the Don Bosco technical school for two years the best students are given a supply of equipment in their own field. In addition we give the girls some money to start their own business.

Oratory: the oratory is another activity that attracts hundreds of children every day. A variety of games fill most of the space and the time available. However there are other activities such as basic teaching, drama, dancing, singing, catechism, prayer, bible study, cinema, and music.
Living just outside the oratory is a mother to whom we have given the responsibility of preparing free food for a hundred children we know have nothing to eat that day.

Nursery: The Mother Teresa Nursery is another of our mission activities. The building and the rooms are particularly beautiful and attractive, thanks as always to the help we receive from our benefactors. For these children too we provide a free plate of nourishing food every day.

The house for the poor - the St. Vincent de Paul Home: In this house provided by the mission we have about fifteen men and women who are abandoned or disabled. For them we provide accommodation, food, medical attention and a lot of affection. The St John of God Brothers who live nearby help us quite a lot with this activity.

Elementary schools: We also manage and look after 6 elementary schools. The teachers are paid by the local government even though the mission employs them. The mission is also very sympathetic regarding the very precarious situation these teachers are in. So the mission is very generous in giving them little loans in emergency and providing medical care for them and their families, sometimes paying for funerals, rent, helping them build their houses, obtain further university qualifications... we are of the opinion that this is money well spent since the teachers are our best collaborators.

Wells for water: so far the mission has provided about thirty wells so that the children in all the schools can have water, but also for the benefit of the local people living near the schools and in the villages near the mission. It should be remembered, however, that digging the well is not the end, maintaining it is a never-ending process. The mission keeps an eye on these wells with a group of workers who have become very experienced in the job.

Churches: the parish church is another very important activity for the Lungi mission. Daily Mass is offered there and is very well attended, and those on Sunday have even larger congregations. In addition to the central church, we have chapels in the villages which give the Salesians the chance to preach the gospel to many other people.

Caring for the handicapped: the Lungi mission also looks after a good number of handicapped. With the help of our benefactors we are able to provide wheel chairs, crutches and medical assistance...

Long distance adoptions: The mission continues the fine Italian tradition of long-distance adoption. At present about 100 children are supported in this way.

Aspirants to Salesian life: for some years this part of the Salesian mission in Sierra Leone has had a house where local youngsters can see whether they have the makings of a Salesian vocation. After this period we send them to other African countries for further studies. In this way Don Bosco’s dream lives on.

Anything missing? There are two quite important things that this mission lacks: first, a proper church. So far we have been making do with a hall. The other thing missing is a group of Sisters to work beside us and provide for the girls what we do for the boys.


Salesian mission,
Sierra Leone,
West Africa

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