The Salesians arrived in Samoa in 1981 at the request of Cardinal Pio Taofinu’u “to do something for youth”. In 1989 Don Bosco Technical Centre commenced with the aim of giving a “second chance” by providing trades training for poor and disadvantaged boys.
More than 25 years later we are still catering for about 180 boys who undertake a four year programme that firstly provides them with general trades training and then the opportunity to specialise in one of five fields: automotive, welding and metal fabrication, carpentry and joinery, plumbing and sheet metal, or electrical. Many of our boys have not successfully negotiated the mainstream schooling system and few have experienced success in life. Hence, our workshop and classroom programmes are complemented by a variety of sporting and cultural activities. Our boys are recognised as one of the best large dance troupes in the country and we are frequently invited to provide entertainment for special national occasions. Our fautasi (long boat) crew is one of the most successful in the country and recently represented Samoa at the American Samoa Flag Day ceremonies. We utilise a combination of trades training, vocational education, spiritual formation, sports opportunities and cultural activities to offer students an enriching education and a pathway to a happy and positive future.
Samoa is a deeply religious and almost exclusively Christian country. The Christian faith is strong in Samoa and a vital aspect of Samoan culture. Daily prayers are an integral part of the cultural. We utilise this aspect of the culture to ensure that prayer, liturgy and faith formation are integrated into the daily routine of school life. Students study Religious Education in the classroom, lead prayer at daily assemblies and participate in numerous retreat and reflection days.
Feast days are celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm. This complements and brings depth to our trades training and vocational education, which offers students the training to prepare for the workforce. These various aspects of our overall programme enable students to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to be good Christians and active The challenge is to provide the opportunities for our boys to deepen their faith in Jesus Christ and to discover the joy that comes from encountering him not only in daily prayer and liturgical celebrations but also in putting faith in action in daily life through service to those in need. In this way we help them live and celebrate their faith in a personal way in the context of a Christian community.
By: Fr Chris Ford SDB