Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Anand Raj MUMBAI, JANUARY 27, 2008: As India celebrated Republic Day, Don Bosco reached another milestone in Mumbai by inaugurating a Community Centre in Asia’s biggest and one of the world’s best known slum - Dharavi. Situated in the heart of this mega slum which is home to over a million people, the Community Centre is a joint venture promoted by Don Bosco and Ekvira Mitra Mandal, a Community Based Organization in Dharavi. Fr. Edwin D’Souza, Rector of Provincial House, inaugurated the Centre by unveiling the name plaque. The huge number of people gathered for the occasion cheered enthusiastically as he broke the coconut in keeping with tradition and declared the Centre open. After the lighting of the lamp, Surekha Pednekar, Development Office staff, welcomed all those present for the function. Next, Melvin Pangya, DO staff, enlightened the gathering about the work of Don Bosco and its commitment towards poor and disadvantaged communities. Mahadev Shinde, President of Ekvira Mitra Mandal, then spoke on behalf of the community. He expressed his great joy that Don Bosco had decided to work in Dharavi and that it would be promoting its activities in collaboration with a community based organization. He pointed out that although Don Bosco has been present in Dharavi for just a few months, its impact is already being felt on the locality – seven Women’s Groups have been formed, several youth have enrolled for the Bosco Plus training programme and evening study classes have begun for the children. He concluded by encouraging the people to make best use of the opportunities that would be provided at this new community centre. Speaking next, Fr. Anaclete D’Mello said that he was indeed grateful for the welcome that the people of the locality had accorded to Don Bosco. He reiterated that the mission of Don Bosco was to empower underprivileged sections of society to work for their development. He then went on to enumerate the various programmes that would be conducted at the community centre. He too ended by encouraging the people, especially the women and the youth, to participate wholeheartedly in all the development programmes at the centre. Next, a few representatives from the women’s groups and from among the youth came forward to expresses their sentiments of gratitude and also their expectations of the new centre. The programme came to a close with Surekha Pednekar proposing the vote of thanks.

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