|Project:||Saint Giuseppina Bakhita|
|Date of foundation:||(2000) 2002|
|Place:||Etiopia - Eritrea|
In the year 2000, the Superiors accepted responsibility from the Holy See for the apostolic administration of Gambela. One confrere that year, Fr Angelo Moreschi, from our Vice province of Ethiopia-Eritrea was appointed as Apostolic Administrator of the Gambela Illubabor region bordering Sudan.
Gambela is a region of Ethiopia bordering Sudan and also the name of the main city in the region. This region has tended to be forgotten both by Government and Church.
It is very poor. This is due to the climate which for much of the year is extremely hot, but also to malaria which robs the strength of those who live there. While not impossible, working in these kinds of areas is very difficult.
Our community has been in Gambela since 2000. The one who began that presence, now the Rector there, is Fr Joseph Larcher. At the moment there are four confreres working there. The effort is being made to set up a centre in this city where young people can learn in a school environment (they have begun with a technical school, while a primary and middle school are under construction) and where there is an oratory/youth centre for them to come together, be accepted and respected. We are convinced that education is the only path to tread to help people to grow and to exit from the situation of poverty in which they find themselves. A small example: this year our school organised an informal carpentry and welding course for around twenty young prisoners, and this has been widely appreciated both by civil authorities and the young people themselves.
There has been a high rate of involvement at the Centre. On Sundays and feastdays around 3000-3500 younger and older boys are likely to turn up. “Summer together” is one of the best-liked activities which occurs during the school holidays. About 500 youngsters take part in sports, cultural activities (recitals, learning English, theatre, etc.) and folklore activities like local dances and singing. It is a special time when young people are encouraged to interact in sporting groups and where they learn to grow in a snese of dignity and mutual collaboration.
In January a special celebration took place at the St. Joseph’s Parish in Gambela. Fr Cesare Galbiati was appointed Parish Priest. Before him Mons. Angelo had to cover this duty as well, and this way the Salesian community is also more directly involved in the evangelisation field.