WORLD DAY AGAINST CHILD LABOR: Salesian Missions highlights programs that reduce child labor

Salesian programs help ensure children and youth are able to gain an education.

NEW ROCHELLE, NY (June 12, 2024) Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, joins humanitarian organizations and the international community in honoring World Day Against Child Labor. The day has been celebrated on June 12 since 2002, and it brings attention to the global extent of child labor and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it.

The theme for this year’s day is “Let’s act on our commitments: End Child Labor!” The day will also mark the 25th anniversary of the adoption of International Labour Organization’s Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour (1999), which, in 2020, was the first convention to be universally ratified.

Child labor is associated with lower educational attainment and later with jobs that fail to meet basic decent work criteria. Those who leave school early are less likely to secure stable jobs and are at greater risk of chronic unemployment and poverty. Many of those who leave school early, particularly between the ages of 15-17, are engaged in work that is hazardous and classified as the worst forms of child labor.

“Salesian programs rescue children from labor and ensure they have their basic needs met and are enrolled in school. We support those efforts by providing scholarship funding and ensuring Salesian schools have what they need to provide high-quality education for poor youth,” said Father Michael Conway, director of Salesian Missions.

In honor of World Day Against Child Labor 2024, Salesian Missions is proud to highlight Salesian programs around the globe that help to eliminate child labor through quality education.


Students attending the Madre Cándida Center, located in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, have new computer equipment thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions. The funding provided 14 new computers to improve the computer laboratory which had obsolete and outdated equipment.

With the donation, students are now more comfortable in class and are working with equipment that helps prepare them for the job market and their careers. There are 125 students who access technical training offered by the center. They take courses in cutting and dress making, comprehensive beauty skills, executive secretarial work, machine embroidery and computer systems. Twenty students in the computer systems course will benefit most from the donation.

A Salesian said, “Our students come from low-income families from the municipalities of Yapacaní in the Ichilo province. They do not have sufficient financial resources to enter the university or emigrate to the city to be able to pursue a degree at the undergraduate level, which is why they choose to study a technical degree near their communities. We are hoping with these new computers we also will be able to increase enrollment into the computer systems course.”


The new documentary “Canillitas” is giving a voice to the more than 340,000 children working in the Dominican Republic, according to an article in Vatican News. The documentary is focused on the plight of six children, the Salesian organization Canillitas con Don Bosco, the founder of the program and the educators who support the children.

Alberto López Herrero, producer, explained the meaning of the word canillitas, which is a name for children who try to earn a living for themselves and their families by moving “las canillas”, or their legs, in many Latin American countries. He told Vatican News, “We make a documentary every two years set in a different country of the world to inform, denounce and raise awareness about a particular violated right of childhood. This word also gave its name to the first Salesian project launched in the Dominican Republic, which will soon be 38 years old.”

López explained to Vatican News that when most people think of child labor they think of factories in India or mines in Colombia but it’s an issue closer than most believe. He noted, “Even in our wrongly defined developed world, there are situations of child labor. Many children, including migrants, are subjected to this type of exploitation, sometimes finding themselves in a condition of slavery.”


Salesian missionaries with Bosco Vikas Gramin Kendra were able to support children in migrant communities in the Central Maharashtra region of India thanks to funding from Salesian Missions.

Salesians note that internal migration in India to the Maharashtra region is high. The needs of children are often overlooked as parents come to the major cities in search of work and a better life. Migrants make up several working sectors including construction, hospitality, manufacturing, transportation, and services, occupying roles ranging from laborers to domestic workers, drivers, and security guards.

Education, health care and social integration become obstacles for migrant youth. The transient nature of migrant life erects barriers to education, compelling youth to navigate a maze of school enrollments amid frequent relocations, often destabilizing their educational journey.


Students attending Saint John Bosco Salesian School in Granada, Nicaragua, received scholarships thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions. In 2023, 62 primary and secondary students benefited from this scholarship funding.

The students come from poor families who do not earn a substantial wage or who are led by single mothers. The families have serious financial difficulties and struggle to pay tuition on their own. The scholarship funding ensures youth from these families have access to high-quality education.

A Salesian noted, “Salesian education responds to today’s challenges and seeks to educate and empower youth to develop a sense of responsibility for one’s own life, overcoming obstacles with courage and perseverance.”

The school was founded in May 1912, the year in which the first Salesians arrived in the city. Education is offered for preschool, primary and secondary school.


About Salesian Missions USA

Salesian Missions is headquartered in New Rochelle, NY, and is part of the Don Bosco Network—a worldwide federation of Salesian NGOs. The mission of the U.S.-based nonprofit Catholic organization is to raise funds for international programs that serve youth and families in poor communities around the globe. The Salesian missionaries are made up of priests, brothers and sisters, as well as laypeople—all dedicated to caring for poor children throughout the world in more than 130 countries and helping young people become self-sufficient by learning a trade that will help them gain employment. To date, more than 3 million youth have received services funded by Salesian Missions. These services and programs are provided to children regardless of race or religion. For more information, go to


Laura Perillo
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