Pope Francis is known to be a strong advocate of support for refugees and displaced persons. He famously called on catholic institutions to open up churches, monasteries, schools and formation houses to refugees and displaced persons. Our Prior General Most Rev. Alejandro Moral OSA has equally echoed this call of the Pope in his letters, in the light of the global humanitarian crisis afflicting many regions of the world. The list of the affected countries is endless.
While the task at hand may seem so daunting as to push one into inactivity, Nigerian Augustinians took this call of the Pope seriously and opted to set up a skill acquisition center in Maiduguri Borno state.
The center called Augustinian Vocational and Technical Institute (AVTI), was commissioned on 8th June 2017 by the Nigerian Augustinian Provincial, Fr. John Abubakar, OSA. The center has six departments: computer application, tailoring, catering, knitting, hairdressing and shoe-making. Other departments like carpentry, metal work and auto mechanic would be added in future. Already. 400 refugees and displaced persons have enrolled for the programme. It is a tuition free programme and the participants would be giving starter packs at the end of their six month training. This is the contribution of the Nigerian Augustinian Province to fighting poverty and empowering the vulnerable members of our society.