Our Story

Free Education for Disadvantaged Youth

Don Bosco Technical School (DBTS) is an educational not-for-profit organisation located in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Since our establishment in 1991, the school has sought to answer the educational needs of a country in its post-war period of reconstruction. Our Technical School is the first institution to provide a free technical skill education to young adults in extreme poverty and to facilitate the schooling of marginalised children. It is regarded as the site of Cambodia’s first printing press following Pol Pot’s regime from 1975-1979 – initiating the republishing, translating and writing of books and documents of education. Today we continue to uphold our mission of inviting disadvantaged youth from across the country to receive a technical skill education, thus providing them with the foundations necessary to create a future of possibilities.

Progressing Education in Cambodia

Poverty is rife is Cambodia with half the population estimated to be living in extreme poverty on less than $2 per day. Youth who live in poverty face many barriers to education and are at greater risk of exploitation, hard labour, early marriage and low income-earning potential. We believe that through education we can offer hope, opportunity and security to Cambodian youth. With over 20 years of education, our school has provided our students with the foundations necessary to break away from a life of poverty.

More than 20 Years of Education

Following Pol Pot’s regime, in the 1980s the United Nations asked the Salesian community in Thailand to attend to children and youth in Cambodian Refugee camps. In answering this request, Father Valter Brigolin and Brother Roberto Panetto moved from Bangkok to Phnom Penh with the goal to establish technical schools in the country. In 1991 Don Bosco Technical School was opened, and has since gained recognition for being the first institution to provide technical education and to offer sponsorship to impoverished Cambodian youth.

Who is Don Bosco?

John Bosco (16 August 1815 – 31 January 1888), commonly known as Don Bosco, was an Italian Roman Catholic Priest, educator and writer. During his early life Italy was experiencing social, political and religious turmoil as a result of the Industrial Revolution. At this time exploitation of poor children, in particular in the form of child labour, was a common practice. Don Bosco established his legacy through creating the Salesians of Don Bosco – a group of Priests, Sisters and Brothers who worked together and dedicated their lives to the betterment of disadvantaged and marginalised youth. During his life Don Bosco provided young people with education and care and fostered teaching methods based on love rather than publishment. He established a network of organisations and centres to spread and carry on his teachings. Today Don Bosco’s legacy of care remains alive in 132 countries around world – with many institutions continuing to practice and share his educational philosophy.

The Salesian Spirit and Philosophy

“It is not enough for young people to be loved; they must know they are loved.” – Don Bosco

As a Salesian community we are committed to working with youth, in particular the poor, disadvantaged and marginalised. We live and work in a community that is committed to being an active presence among the young; working with them, beside them and sharing in their lives. Don Bosco’s philosophy of working with young people is based on a preventive attitude, where love rather than fear, is cultivated. We engage with youth in a way that allows them to know they are loved and cared for. The Salesian spirit is one of joy and optimism, where one’s humanity and spirituality is respected and deeply valued.

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