The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, better known as the Salesian Sisters, are a religious Institute of the Catholic Church. Through the approval of the Sovereign Pontiff St. Pius X the Institute is one of Pontifical Rights (decree of Approval dated 7th September 1911). With about 12,000 members, its educational charisma is spread in about 100 Countries all over the world. Their mission is to work for the education of the youth, without distinction of race, social status or religion, but with a clear preference for young women. They are aware that educating women means changing the whole society.
Founded by St. John Bosco and St. Mary Mazzarello in 1872, the Salesian Sisters aim to be a sign of the preventing love of God and of the maternal solicitude of Mary to the youth, especially those that belong to the poorer sections of society, through educational and promotional activities. They take care of the integral formation of the person, through Youth Centres and schools at all levels, and through academic (Primary Education, Secondary Education and Higher Education), professional, and technical-vocational programs. While aiming for the development of the whole person, they encourage youths to gradually assume responsibility for their growth and to make themselves into people capable of wise judgement, free choice and service to the others.
Through their education they follow the principles of the common Educational Proposal of the Salesian Schools. Guided by the Preventive System, they aim to create an Educative Eco-system, which is:
- Welcoming house
- Evangelising community
- School that introduces to life
- Courtyard to meet friends and live joyfully.
The Preventive System becomes an experience of communion lived among the educative community and young people in an atmosphere of spontaneity, friendship and joy.
The presence of an educator among the youth is an indispensable educative need, so that the educator can be attentive to the spirit at work in each person. It is a welcoming, active and witnessing presence, a warm-hearted, friendly sharing in their lives, hopes and aspirations.
The Salesian Sisters are aware that education, and especially a good standard of female education, is a pre-requisite for social and economic progress. They value human resources, keeping in mind even the economic benefits of education, which is expected to develop skills, increase productivity and, above all, foster positive attitude towards economic, social and cultural development.
The Salesian Sisters have been present in Ethiopia since 1986, from the South to the North: Dilla (1986), Zway (1987), Addis Ababa (1990), Adwa (1996), Addis Abeba-Bole Bulbula (2010) and Gubrie (2015). In the whole Country they are carrying out formal and non-formal educative activities, especially for the development of young women. They are running Youth Centres, Women Promotion Centres, Kindergartens, Literacy Programmes, Primary and Secondary Schools, Preparatory, TVETs and Colleges.
In 1987, the Salesian Sisters started Women Promotion Activities at “Mary Help” in Zway, reaching out to the needs of the girls and young women. In 1996 the programme was upgraded to a 10+3 Technical School. In the school year 2001/02 the Technical School started to be run according to the New Ethiopian Educational Policy, adding the field of Information Technology to the already existing of Fashion.
Currently the Mary Help TVET College is providing training in Garment an ICT sectors from level I to IV. The occupations are Basic Apparel Production (Level I), Intermediate Apparel Production (Level II), Advanced Apparel Production (Level III) and Apparel Fashion Design and Technology Supervision (Level IV) in Garment sector; and IT Support Service (Level I and II), Hardware and Network Servicing (Level III and IV).
On June 2010 ECUSTA (Ethiopian Catholic University Saint Thomas Aquino) and the Catholic Bishops Conference of Ethiopia request the Mother General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians to collaborate in upgrading the Mary Help College of Zway to a constituent College of ECUSTA offering a Degree program.
One year later, on June 2011, ECUSTA – Mary Help College – Zway Campus, received the accreditation of Information Technology Degree Program from HERQA and the Degree Program began in September 2011.