Focus 2006

Madagascar - MDG15-04-2006

Project: Salesian Works in Madagascar
Date of foundation: 1980
Place: Madagascar
Province: MDG

The Salesians came to Madagascar thanks to “Project Africa”. The large island in the Indian Ocean (587,041 km2, 16,913,000 inhabitants) is geologically and politically part of the African continent, but its inhabitants came from Indonesia and Malaysia, and only a few from Southern Equatorial Africa. Today the 18 Malagasy ethnic groups share the same language and culture, although with some variations.

When the Rector Major invited Salesian provinces to open missions in Africa, there were already requests with the Missions Department from the Bishops of Madagascar. The provinces of Naples, Sicily, East Venice and Rome responded to the invitation. By surprise, the missionaries chosen found themselves on the same flight and got off at Ivato airport on the 17th December 1981. The mass arrival of nine missionaires for different dioceses made news in the young Malagasy Church. Our missionaries found warm acceptance everywhere

The number of houses and confreres, but especially the growing number of young Malagasy in formation, suggested the need for local juridical authority. In June 1999, once Fr Zuppino, Superior of the Circumscription dedicated to Mary Immaculate, had completed his term of office, the Rector Major decreed that Madagascar be a Vice Province and appointed Fr Joseph Miele as Superior

Some Salesian works in Madagascar:

1. The Missions in Ankililoaka and Betafo
Ankililoaka is located in southern Madagascar. Only 5% of the inhabitants of the place are Christians; the rest still follow their ancestral religion. The Salesians, from the outset, began work in the education sector, creating many primary schools, spread out through remote parts of the area, a junior and senior high school in Ankililoaka with more than 800 students. To improve the students' access to study, they set up whole villages for young boys and girls from distant areas.

The Salesians came to Betafo in 1987, following on from another Religious Congregation. As well as the parish and mission area, the Salesians are involved in education with the junior and senior high school looking after more than 1,500 students. To make it easier for the youngsters and their families they set up villages for boys and girls who wanted to continue their studies. Here we find an aspirantate for those young people who want to follow up their vocation.

2. Reception Centre for poor and vulnerable youth
The Salesians inherited this work from Abbé François in 1984. The Centre looks after more than 150 boarding lads : orphans, abandoned by their families, e also sme coming from the juvenile detention centre. The Salesians are concerned with recovering these boys through basic education and preparing them for the working world. For some years the centre has also been open to a good number of day boys The poorest of the boys, and those who are outside the age group can find appropriate education in the Don Bosco School and Oratory.

3. The Technical Centre in Mahajanga

The Salesians came to Mahajanga in 1981 and immediately set about technical formation for young people. The Centre is one of the best-known in Madagascar. The parish offers a pastoral service to many fishing villages making up the area. The Oratory, which in recent years has gained special interest, sees to animation and education of the young, especially on Saturdays and Sundays. The Aspirantate for the youngsters aiming at Salesian life helps the boys in vocation discernment especially through offering them the idea of the Salesian Brother.

4. The work at Tulear Mahavatse

Located in the South of Madagascar, the work began in1981. As well as a Parish in a very poor area, the Salesians look after the formation of the young through the Don Bosco Technical Centre and the Centre for promotion of women, to give boys and girls a human and Christian education which is appropriate and a basis for setting themselves up in the working world. Next to the parish are two schools for poor youngsters. There is also a prenovitiate.

5. Radio Don Bosco, the third Salesian radio in Madagascar, began broadcasting on 27 June 1996. It is the best known and likes private radio station in the capital. It is aimed at eveyrone, in Malagasy, with news, music, educational broadcasts for the young, women, the rural world, etc. Today they are about to complete a satellite link allowing other radio stations in the network (around twenty) to use the same facilities in the capital and integrate it with their local programmes.

25 years are not a long time for a mission of evangelisation and human development. Certainly there is more future than past in this huge Island. “We waited so long for you... now you are with us we will not let you go”: is the cry of so many youngsters today here in Madagascar.

  Oeuvres et Mission Don Bosco
105 Ivato Aéroport
Tel: (+ 261) 20.22.451.03
Fax: (+261) 20.22.451.01
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