SUSTAINING THE DREAM
“You catch more flies with a spoonful of honey than with a barrel of vinegar.”
– St. Francis de Sales
Our long and proud history began on August 16, 1815 with the birth of our founder, St. John “Don” Bosco, who influenced his peers even as a child. In 1841 he was ordained a priest and in 1859 he established the Society of St. Francis of Sales – popularly known as the Salesians. Since its humble beginnings, the Salesians have always focused on the education of the poor and most vulnerable young people. Today we are located in more than 130 countries and touch the lives of millions of children and families.
Salesians in South Africa: A century of response to youth in need
It was in 1883 that Don Bosco received a request from Bishop Leonard of Cape Town to send Salesians to South Africa. Only in 1896, however, did it become possible, when a group of five pioneers arrived in Cape Town from England.
The leader was a young Italian priest, accompanied by a clerical student and three Salesian Brothers, craftsmen in printing, bookbinding and joinery. These crafts were to be the first of a number of trades to be taught to poor and needy boys for whom the Salesians had come to work. Many were orphans and all were in need of a trade with which to earn a living on leaving school.
The Salesian order has been working for the education and training of youth in their present premises at No. 2 Somerset Road since 1910. Since 1990, we have developed programmes to teach critical life skills and help disadvantaged youth get back on their feet and enter the increasingly competitive job market.