In Kenya, we provide technical training through our four institutions, Don Bosco Embu, Makuyu, Boys’ Town – Nairobi and Don Bosco Kakuma Refugee camp, Turkana County. Through these institutions we have been offering training in different trades that include – welding and metal fabrication, fitter turner, engine rebuilding, carpentry and joinery, masonry/brick laying, plumbing, electrical, motor vehicle mechanics, driving school, typing and secretarial, art and design, tailoring and dress making, cabinet making, computer training and literacy and numeracy.
Don Bosco has an established presence in Kakuma refugee camp and has worked with the refugees since 1993 as a UNHCR implementing partner in vocational training in Kakuma. According to ongoing consultation with, and a needs assessment carried out by UNHCR for the year 2014, refugees indicated their need for Don Bosco Kakuma to expand its scope for technical skills training, to enable them accommodate more students from the refugee and host community of the Turkana people, and to give them a higher level of training.
With over 30 years of experience in vocational training education in Kenya, we the Salesians believe that we have the much needed skills and technical capacity to fully implement the vocational training for refugee and host community youth and contribute towards the economic growth of Kenya, introduce an alternative source of income from the effects of climate change to their mainstream economy, consequently transforming the lives of many.
We have the main center which has all the technical trades that we offer together with literacy ad numeracy programs, the second center is an agricultural center where we wish to train 320 youth every year in agriculture, the third has community technology access – computer training and some other technical trades and literacy and numeracy programs and finally in the new place that we are constructing now where we will begin to offer courses from January 2016.
Over the past years Don Bosco Kakuma has trained thousands of young people. Indications are that the needs met by Don Bosco is only increasing, from the number of people enrolling in the program and graduating. This year, 2015 we enrolled 3774 persons and of these 2843 graduated at the end of the year in all the different centers that we operate in the camp. At the end of their studies here, our students in the technical trades do a Kenya government examination (NITA) and the students are given their official Grade III certificates. Next year we are hoping to start at least in a small scale, training students for Grade II.
On various occasions, the refugee population in discussions with Salesians and in interviews with visiting donor agencies have expressed their desire to have the courses that they are taking here to be upgraded. At present we are able to give only Grade 3 which is the basic grade in technical training, but would love to have it upgraded to give them Grade 2 and Grade 1 which would empower them with sufficient skills in the trade of their choice. UNHCR and other agencies have fully supported this idea and would like to see this materialized soon.
With this in mind the Salesians have embarked on building a Technical Institute just outside the camp, but connected to the camp, to be able to offer training for the refugee and host community youth. After getting the necessary permissions in the congregation, through discussions with the diocese, we have now very good plot of land right in the town, but adjacent to the camp. We are making plans to do the fencing of the plot. Hydrological survey has been conducted and spot is identified for a borehole. Drawings and bill of quantities have been obtained, but now we are waiting for some donor agencies to come to our help to be able to get funds to build the Institute. Initially there were promises of help, but when we have done our part of the work, we see nothing concrete is coming forth.