Focus 2024

Madagascar - MDG29-01-2024

The oratory in Ankililoaka has a new life

 In Madagascar, one of the poorest countries in the world, about 60% of the population are under the age of 20. And it is precisely alongside the young Malagasy that the missionaries of Don Bosco, in 1981, began their journey on the island, offering a valid alternative to poverty through education, literacy, education and professional training, with schools, technical institutes, pastoral activities and oratories, now located throughout the country.

Located in the southwest of Madagascar, the town of Ankililoaka has been home to a Salesian community for more than forty years: invited in 1980 by the local diocese to start a presence, the Sons of Don Bosco founded a mission the following year. Even today, the Ankililoaka community faces numerous challenges: the area is poor and the population is mostly supported by agriculture, but often has to struggle even just to find the necessary water. This is why the Salesians, in addition to educating and evangelising, also strive for human promotion, trying to accompany young people and the population to common work, stimulating them to reflect and seek their autonomy.

From the beginning in Ankililoaka, the Salesians also started the oratory, which has always been an important point of reference for the youth of the area, an open but protected place, where children and young people learn the true meaning of the words friendship, respect, collaboration, responsibility. A space in which to grow, play and pray, in the little church that is the heart of this oratory attended by 800 young people coordinated by 35 leaders

Play and sport have a deep bond with the Salesians: this is a factor linked to the path traced by Don Bosco and confirmed over time by his Sons: the choice of the youthful environment, the choice of education, the choice of certain operational lines... and the oratory is the place where all these elements converge. The Salesians in Madagascar know this, and have set themselves the goal of promoting sport among the young people of the community by focusing on two group disciplines, basketball and volleyball.

In fact, the community is now seeking international support to build two playgrounds, because infrastructure is a fundamental tool for the realisation of the right to sport.

For the local population, Salesians are a constant point of reference, authentic guarantors of their rights and supporters of their opportunities for progress. And the Sons of Don Bosco also want to testify on this occasion to be able to support youth in the best possible way.

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