On Friday, the 13th of December, the Don Bosco Training Center in Comoro (TCDBC) held its 28th graduation ceremony as another batch of graduates celebrated their hard work and dedication upon the succesful completion of their studies.

The graduates worked diligently in their respective trades (electrical, air conditioning, welding, carpentry, masonry, plumbing, automotive and computer administration) for a whole year, securing the skills and lessons they need to secure employment in the future.

The graduation ceremony was the joyful celebration of a fruitful harvest, as students, staff, families, friends and special guests came together to congratulate the graduates. Throughout the course of the day there was a very happy atmosphere, almost like a festival – indeed, throughout the day there was even live music, dancing, food selfies and so on!

Red carpet for graduatesIt was a well-earnt red-carpet experience for the young people at their graduation ceremony!

The ceremony began at 10:00 am with a welcome of the distinguished guests from the government, companies that work in partnership with the school, benefactors of the training center, students and staff. The program for the day then begun with the opening prayer, the national anthem of Timor-Leste and then the Hymn to Don Bosco

Afterwards, a series of speeches took place from the significant guests present.

  • Fr. Yohanes Labatolok (the center’s Principal)
  • Leonio Moreira (a representative of the students)
  • Mr. Ijinho (the secretary of state for vocational training and employment policy)
  • Mrs. Isabel de Lima (from the National Labor Force Development Institute)
  • Mrs. Ivonia (on behalf of the school’s benefactors)
  • Fr. Apolinario Maria Ornai Neto (Provincial of the Timor-Leste vice province)

Graduating students show off certificatesA group of graduates show off their certificates of succesful study completion!

In his speech, Fr. Labatolok spoke of the challenges and the difficulties which the students of the training center had faced during the year. He noted how it was with the help and support from various people and organizations that the year was able to be successfully completed and therefore, gave earnest thanks to everyone involved: the benefactors, the partnership companies, the staff, the Salesians and finally, the families and relatives of the students.

All of them, he stressed, have contributed to the formation of the young people at the training center. Fr. Labatolok concluded his speech by pointing out the high rate of unemployment in the country and how the technical center was making such concrete, positive change to the issue.

Fr. Neto thanked God for “all the good things that He has granted to the students and the community during this year of difficulty.” In light of this, he encouraged the graduates to have faith in God in whatever situation they might face in the future, echoing Don Bosco’s call for them to “become good Christians and honest citizens”.

Fr Neto gives a speech to studentsFr. Apolinario Maria Ornai Neto, Provincial of Timor-Leste addresses the crowd

Leonio Moreira, the representative of the students, stressed his deep appreciation for the training center and even more so for the Salesians. He spoke of how much he had progressed intellectually yet he was even more thankful for the vital formation he had received during his time at the center: spiritual, emotional, social, as well as instilling in them strong values such as teamwork.

He also added how proud all the students are to be alumni of Don Bosco; forever a part of the Salesian Family. Leonio concluded by reminding his fellow graduates to have courage in facing the reality of life in their workplace in the future.

Following this, each of the graduates received their certificates. The day then concluded with one final shared lunch together, prepared by the graduates themselves, and then a photo session.

The graduation ceremony was held at the gymnasium of TCDBC, whilst another graduation ceremony also took place at the Don Bosco training center in Fatumaca for the very first time, in affiliation with the center in Comoro.

This expansion will be instrumental in allowing the young people from the eastern part of the island to receive similar training and opportunities to enter the workforce.

Graduation in fatumacaThe graduation ceremony in Fatumaca saw many bright young people take up the keys to their future.

These celebrations are so joyful, and the opportunities the training center offers are so vital because Timor-Leste has one of the youngest populations on the planet. Half of the population is aged between 15 to 25, and 34% of this age group make up the workforce.

Therefore, the tireless Salesian presence in Timor-Leste is vital in improving the quality of life for young people, by ensuring that they can get beneficial jobs that enable them to support their families and communities.

This is the best way forward for a developing nation; investing in the young people and empowering them to work for the betterment of their fledging nation.

Let us keep these young people in our prayers, for their success and health now and into their future lives.

Students recieving certificateStudents recieve their certificates with a handshake.