Thursday, November 26, 2015

BIS #4615 CAMPING TO CELEBRATE DECENNIAL YEAR

by BIS Correspondent

 

NAVI MUMBAI, NOV 25, 2015: Don Bosco Senior Secondary School, Nerul organised a three-day camp for Scouts and Guides from November 22-24 at Karjat. The school is celebrating its decennial year and wanted the students to have a unique camping experience. 

 

184 scouts and guides along with 19 staff members participated in the camp at Pinewood resort. A strict schedule was followed, to instill a sense of duty and discipline among the scouts and guides. Early morning treks, flag breaks, tent pitching, learning knots and lashings, as well as pioneering projects which included making camp gadgets were some of the activities conducted. 

 

The highlights were the camp-fire sessions and adventure sports organised for the participants. All the activities were aimed at helping the scouts and guides become skilled team players, self-reliant and effective leaders of tomorrow. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

BIS #4614 ARCHBISHOP OF POZNAN STRESSES IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY

by Adam Dupré, Jarek Budny & Romero D'Souza 

 

ISRAEL, NOV 24, 2015: On November 19, the occasion of the Annual Day - DIES ACADEMICUS- the Jerusalem Campus of the Salesian Pontifical University (STS), hosted  Archbishop of Poznan Stanislaw Gądecki, also the President of the Polish Bishop's Conference, member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith and a member of the Synod on the Family; who delivered the Lectio Magistralis on "The Synod on the family and its interpretation of the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and contemporary world." 

 

The Rector of the Salesian Monastery Ratisbonne, Father Andrew Wong gave the welcome speech quoting Saint John Bosco, "education is a matter of the heart," reminding everyone  of their role as educators and that they needed to look forward at the world with hope and love, educating the faithful in matters that concern the heart. The choir of the STS then sang the "Laudate Omnes Gentes."

 

The guests of honour at the function were - Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, Auxiliary Bishop William H Shomali, Auxiliary Bishop Giancinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Archbishop Joseph Jules Zerey and Father Damasio Raimundo Santos De Medeiros, Dean of the Faculty of Theology, Salesian Pontifical University, Rome.

 

The Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, expressed his joy at being present on the occasion and shared the importance of the usefulness and the need of theology especially in Israel where there is violence and tragedy with regard to life, faith and religion. He spoke about the importance of having a center of higher studies in a place like Jerusalem. "Today we open two new diplomas. This is a sign of vitality of this institution. These diplomas are a great start to creating bonds of fraternity between this institution and the surrounding community of Jerusalem. These diplomas will assist the students in truly becoming educators."

 

The two new Pontifical Diplomas in Biblical Geography and History and in Inter-religious Dialogue and History, were then launched. The officially appointed Teaching Coordinators for each course are Father Andrzej Toczyski and Father William Russell.

 

Father Toczyski spoke about the common phrase of "the Holy Land being the fifth gospel". It will facilitate the students in leading pilgrimages and Bible studies in the places where they are assigned after the completion of their studies. He then invited Archbishop Lazzaroto to officially unveil the new Diploma for Biblical History and Geography.

 

Father William Russell pointed out that while Inter-religious Dialogue and ecumenism are different topics they are integrally related. The unity of the Church is at the service of humanity. Inter-religious Dialogue seeks to build trust and knowledge of one another. Acknowledging the differences we have, it fosters respect for each other and our common love for humanity. He then invited Bishop William Shomali to officially unveil the new Diploma in Inter-religious Dialogue and Ecumenism.

 

Deacon Tomasz Sage then introduced Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, President of the Polish Bishops' Conference. Archbishop Gądecki  then discussed the essential pastoral guidelines for family life:  "language of conversion" - to know and develop the sense of moral principles and values in marriage and family; "education for the proper use of sexuality" – the primary and pedagogical importance of virtues and its integration and application in spheres such as intellectual, emotional, moral, social, sexual and spiritual; "proper preparation for the wedding liturgy" – to deepen the Christian doctrine on marriage and family, with practical emphasis on the moral duty and responsibility through frequent opportunities of catechesis; "pastoral accompaniment" – especially in the first years of marriage during which the couples grows in the awareness of the challenges and the importance of marriage and the fundamental attitude of acceptance of the great gift of a child.


The Lectio Magistralis was followed by a time of dialogue on the topic with Archbishop Gądecki . Some questions were raised, especially with regard to issues such as the annulment of marriage, the cases of divorce and remarriage to which he responded in a very friendly manner.


Father Damasio Raimundo Santos De Medeiros, dean of the faculty of theology, Salesian Pontifical University, Rome then presented a medal of the university to Father Pier Giorgio Gianazza honouring his contribution as professor emeritus. Father Biju read an exhortation from the Chancellor of the UPS. The document recalled the achievements of the life of Father Gianazza. "He has inspired many to love the scripture, theology and the Church." Father Gianazza was then honoured with a gift on behalf of UPS Jerusalem.


The event concluded with the STS choir singing "Spirit of God". Sister Angela Ridout, registrar and secretary of STS, then gave the vote of thanks to the dignitaries, the teaching staff, the students and the participants.  A special thanks was mentioned to the Academic Council for their efforts to organise the annual day 2015-2016. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

BIS #45613 MAKING CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY WORK

by BIS Correspondent

 

MUMBAI, NOV 23, 2015: Professionals from the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) and several corporates, at a seminar held at Don Bosco Centre for Learning (DBCL) on November 20, stressed that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) would help India deal with the shortfall in skilled workforce.  

 

The joint seminar entitled 'Making CSR Work – What does a Company need to know?' was organised by Don Bosco Institute of Technology and IICA in Kurla. It drew participants from several industries that needed to comply with the CSR law - which was implemented in 2013 - as well as several NGOs, eager to understand the law and how to facilitate the companies to fulfil their responsibilities in this regard.

 

In 2013, the Companies Act mandated all companies with a minimum net worth of Rs 500 crores, a turnover of Rs 1,000 crores, and a net profit of at least Rs 5 crores, to spend at least 2% of their profits on CSR.

 

The Act led companies to focus on skill development since it offers them a chance to create sustainable impact while increasing their core technical expertise. Investment in skill development enables access to skilled resources in the industry and also provides for long-term business value to the corporations and the industry on a whole. 

 

Nikhil Pant, Chief Program Executive, NFCSR, IICA and a host of eminent speakers from KPMG, Voltas, M&M, Bajaj and Dasra addressed the gathering about the various facets of the law and its intent. The key takeaways from the seminar were that, corporates needed to see CSR as not just an expenditure outside the purview of their regular business, but rather as a way to increase goodwill and thereby help business as a whole.

 

It was also stressed, at the meeting, that the Bombay Stock Exchange and IICA had recently signed an agreement to collaborate on developing a CSR index to assess impact and performance of companies listed on the BSE in CSR activities. 

 

The speakers added that according to CSR, the outcome and impact are more important than just activities. NGO's were informed that IICA has instituted a screening process by which NGOs will be identified as being professional implementing agencies. This is to help corporates identify suitable NGOs.

 

Participants were informed that through different compendiums, that IICA has identified gaps for CSR expenditure and that corporates should not view CSR and Sustainability separately.

 

A report published by IICA in October, this year, stated that millions of young adults are graduating every year in India, but less than three percent of the workforce is equipped with the skills to do a job. A skill gap analysis conducted by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) in 2014 reported a requirement of 109.73 million skilled workers by 2022 across 24 key sectors. It estimated that a mere 4.69 percent of the total workforce in India had undergone formal skill training of any sort compared to 68 percent in the UK and 75 percent in Germany.

 

DBCL, Vidyavihar is doing its part in dealing with the issue and announced that it would partner IICA for conducting a nine-month long certification program in CSR. The course is online and Don Bosco Centre for Learning will be the hub and partner.

BIS #4612 PRACTICAL TRAINEES COURSE AT BOSCOWADI

by Brother Clarence 

 

 

UTTAN, NOV 23, 2015: Twenty Clerics and Brothers from the Mumbai Province, accompanied by Father Glenford Lowe, took part in the Practical Trainees course held at Boscowadi, Uttan from November 18 – 20.  


The course began with a sumptuous breakfast, followed by a time of fellowship.  The clerics bonded over conversations, swimming and delicious lunch. Some spent the afternoon relaxing, others exploring the Uttan area and visiting companions. 

The team grouped together in the evening for the Lectio Divina and the Holy Eucharist, animated by Father Lowe. The moments of reflection and sharing of the Word of God was an opportune time to seek divine intervention. A well animated and meaningful Eucharistic celebration followed. The movie 'The Railway Man' was a window to the Year of Mercy and reiterated the need to be reconcilers of peace.

 

Day two of the course began with a time for personal meditation and morning prayer, along the peaceful shores and rocky settings of the Uttan landscape. Father Lowe then conducted a session on 'Salesian Youth Ministry – Frame of Reference'. He enlightened the young Salesians about the journey of the Youth Ministry over the last four decades and the interventions from the 22nd – 27th General Chapters. This was followed by a time of reflection and sharing of the issues discussed.

 

Raymond D'souza, an entrepreneurial motivator, then challenged the group on 'How to know one's passion and put it to the best use to gain success.' It was a very practical session. He was accompanied by Father Crispino D'Souza, who evaluated the 'Discipline Policy' that each practical trainee was to take up in their respective houses. 

 

Father D'Souza celebrated the Holy Eucharist and touched upon the theme of violence and peace. The afternoon session was conducted by Father Lowe, where he invited the practical trainees to share their experiences. Using the method of the 'Rose-Thorn-Bud' as the parameters, the young Salesians shared their personal experiences on a very deep and honest level. 


After a refreshing cup of tea, the brothers enjoyed a healthy game of football by the seashore. Late evening, they gathered together for a moment of prayer. Dinner and the Holy Rosary followed, and the brothers then proceeded to enjoy the camp-fire and barbecue, they had organised. Thanks to the generosity of their parents, they enjoyed some tasty chicken and fresh fish.  They then sang the night away, under the starry sky, making it a trip to remember.

 

The final day of the course began with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist  around the beautiful grotto of Boscowadi. Father Lowe shared his reflection on the Strenna of the Rector Major for 2016. After breakfast, the Uttan brothers organised a boat ride from Uttan to one of the islands. This provided a perfect setting for reflection and more bonding. 

 

Post lunch, the brothers and Father Lowe evaluated the course. It received a positive response from all the participants. They wee particularly pleased with the abundant time of fellowship and sharing that the course provided. Many called it a 'never-like-before' practical trainee course.

 

The young Salesians left Boscowadi with renewed energy to go into the second half of their practical training and a heart full of gratitude towards the organisers and staff of Boscowadi.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

BIS #4611 SALESIAN FAMILY RETREAT

by Jacinta D'souza

 

LONAVALA, NOV 19, 2015: Forty participants – that included Salesian Cooperators, ADMA and past pupils – took part in a two-day annual retreat at Don Bosco, Lonavala on November 11 and 12. Father Kiran Salve from Baroda and Aubrey Menezes addressed the faithful – most of whom hailed from Ahmednagar, Baroda and Mumbai - on several subjects that ranged from the power of the Holy Spirit to the importance of building family life. 

 

On the first day of the retreat, Father  Salve highlighted the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit renews, recreates and rekindles our lives, transforming and enhancing our spiritual growth. He also dwelt on 'family life' and the power of the Spirit in living out our family commitments. The Salesian Cooperators from Ahmednagar then conducted the Way of the Cross. Being the month of the Holy souls, the faithful visited and prayed at the graves of the Salesian confreres: Father Cajetan Lobo, Father Mauro Cassarotti and Brother P M Thomas. An Adoration service, conducted by the Cooperators from Wadala west, was then held.

 

On day two, a meditation session was conducted. The faithful were shown a power point presentation on de-stressing. Menezes then took them through a set of meditation techniques that were very practical. He dwelt on the need of overcoming fear and in the final session he proposed ways and means of family bonding. The Retreat concluded with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist animated by the Matunga and Bandra groups and celebrated by Father Vivian D'Souza, the Provincial Delegate for the Salesian Family. Father D'souza also spoke about the forthcoming programmes for the Salesian Family. 


The inspiring talks and the silent moments during the retreat helped its participants to imbibe the teachings of the animators and to pick up important notes for Christian and Salesian living.

BIS #4610 SEMINAR TO HELP COMBAT SUBSTANCE ABUSE

by Dakshayani Madangopal

 

BANGALORE, NOV 19, 2015: Forty six teachers participated in a special workshop, organised by the Don Bosco Research Centre, on November 14 in Bangalore; to help them to identify and tackle substance abuse among school children.

 

The workshop, held at Bethany's Pre-preparatory School, began with Dr Mohan Roy, professor of psychiatry at the Medical College Thiruvananthapuram, addressing the gathering on the menace of drugs. In his session, Dr Roy touched upon the types of drugs, consumption behaviour and effects on human organs. There was active participation with teachers asking numerous questions about effects of alcohol, tolerance and withdrawal behaviour, role of nature vs nurture, steps to be taken to combat the habit.

 

The session was followed by a quiz conducted by Hemalatha Anil Kumar, consultant, Don Bosco Research Centre, Mumbai. The participants were divided into six groups and all correct answers were awarded chocolates. Dr Roy's expertise proved to be invaluable at this stage as participants sought detailed clarifications for some of the quiz questions.

 

In the post lunch session, Swapnil Pange, psychologist and counsellor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, covered the types, reasons, signs, symptoms and consequences of substance abuse - and most importantly - the role of teachers and the importance of communication. Pange highlighted the role of school principals and counsellors in early intervention and prevention, collaboration with the local police, parents and treatment agencies and helping parents to develop effective parenting skills to deal with the issue.

 

It was stressed that motivation and incentives needed to be given to teachers to participate in training. Schools needed to have a comprehensive drug prevention programme in their curriculum, which was informative, interactive, interesting and developmentally appropriate, focused upon problem solving skills and would help students improve self- esteem. He also stressed upon the role of life skill training and assertiveness training that would enable children say "NO" to drugs. 

 

Pange added that since the vulnerability to substance addiction starts at an early age, it is important to initiate talks about the ill- effects of substance abuse at a younger age at homes as well as in schools before it becomes too late. He highlighted the need to strengthen protective factors and suggested that the teachers should not take up the role of a professional counsellor but instead refer the child to the school counsellor or to a professional working with drug addiction. The role-plays and group activities initiated were very effective. Before concluding, post training evaluation forms were filled by the teachers and Certificates of Participation distributed. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

BIS #4609 CELEBRATING CHILDREN'S DAY

by BIS Correspondent

MUMBAI, NOV 16, 2015: The nation celebrated the 126th birth anniversary of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on November 14. To mark the day, Shelter Don Bosco at Wadala celebrated Children's day, along with the youth from neighbouring slums.

120 boys and girls joined hands for the celebration, which began at 10am and ended – with lunch – at 1pm. The day began with a prayer service, wherein the children were made aware of the importance of the day through a video. They then broke out to play at the various fete stalls.

At around 11am, the youth assembled in the hall for a talent show display. Many students came up on stage to show their talents. A short prayer was then said, before the children headed for lunch. Each child was given a gift at the end of the celebration.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

BIS #4608 WALKATHON TO PROMOTE CLEAN CITY

by BIS Correspondent

 

NAVI MUMBAI, NOV 14, 2015: Over 400 students from Don Bosco Senior Secondary School, Nerul participated in the Smart City Challenge Walkathon, which was organised by the Navi Mumbai Education Department as part of the Swachh Bharat and Smart City initiative, on November 7.

 

The Walkathon, which stretched for six kilometres, drew over 25000 student and teachers from the area. Students from standard seven to twelve – from Don Bosco Senior Secondary School - and teachers from the secondary and senior secondary section participated in the Walkathon.

 

The students assembled at the school premises at 7am, after which they were taken to Tandel Ground in Nerul, the venue for the event. The 25000 present then took an oath of 'Shramdaan' to maintain Swacch Navi Mumbai and thereby spread this message. Municipal Commissioner Dinesh Waghmare and Mayor Sudhakar Sonawane then lit the torch and ignited the minds of the youngsters to mark the spirit of ' I am Smart, I am Navi Mumbai'.

 

There was an air of celebration at the venue, with the vibrancy of students from across all schools. The students then released colourful balloons and a brief entertainment session followed. The march ended at the Delhi Public School ground in Nerul.

Friday, November 13, 2015

BIS #4607 BROTHER ALEX RECEIVES LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

by BIS Corespondent

AHMEDNAGAR, NOV 13, 2015: Brother Alex Gonsalves was recognised by the National Association of Professional Social Workers with a Lifetime Achievement award, for his work in promoting rain-water harvesting and afforestation in Ahmednagar.

The felicitation ceremony was held at the Jain Vishva Bharati Institute, Ladnun Rajasthan, on October 24 and was part of the opening of the 3rd Indian Social Work Congress. Aruna Roy, a noted social worker and herself the recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership, handed the coveted award to Brother Gonsalves.

The Plaque presented to Brother Gonsalves contains a brief summary of the work done by him in the 24 years he has spent working with and for the people of Ahmednagar. Brother was commended for founding Bosco Gramin Vikas Kendra, Ahmednagar along with other dedicated Salesians who have serve the poor in innumerable ways.

The plaque commends Brother for the work he has done in the area of rain harvesting and afforestation in the drought prone villages of Ahmednagar and Beed districts. It refers to him being considered a 'modern day Bhagirath' by the people he works with, after the example of King Bhagirath of yore who is credited with bringing the river Ganga to earth. The plaque also refers to Brother as a committed grass-root worker with a vision, who believes that valuing peoples' participation and knowledge is essential for true development. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

BIS #4606 DAKOR BLESSED WITH NEW CHURCH

by BIS Correspondent

DAKOR, NOV 11, 2015: The parish of Don Bosco, Dakor had reason to celebrate, as Bishop Thomas Macwan, Father Savio Silveira - Vice Provincial of Mumbai Province –- blessed its newly built church on November 8.

At the onset of the celebration, a procession was carried out from the entrance of the boarding. A Garba dance was then performed, in keeping with the festive spirit. Later the faithful joyfully moved towards the newly erected structure of the church. Bishop Macwan was the main celebrant and the Holy Eucharist began with the Altar bare. Every bit of the blessing was revealed step by step and it seemed to really bring the presence of God amidst those present. 

The walls of the church were blessed with Holy Water, which was earlier blessed at the altar. Bishop Macwan focused on the importance of the church, why the church is essential and the reason for building the church at Dakor. He also spoke of a church being a place for us to talk and relate to our friend- Jesus. After the homily, the church was incensed.

Soon after the Holy Eucharist there was a short felicitation programme, which was followed by a Padyanatika called 'Jyotirdhar' based on the social teaching of Jesus during his stay among the people. It was beautifully directed by Father Lorenzo D'souza, guided by Father Isaac A and Brother  Tony. 
A big contribution by the boys and girls of the boarding followed.

The church leaders present, thanked the benefactors for their generosity and invoked God's blessings on the faithful. 
All those present prayed together, that the parish may flourish and bring more faithful devotees closer to God.



Monday, November 9, 2015

BIS #4605 SHELTER DON BOSCO¹S DIWALI SPECIAL


by BIS Correspondent

MUMBAI, NOV 9, 2015: Around 350 children from various city-based NGO's celebrated Diwali - the festival of lights - by singing, dancing, reciting poetry, colouring, face painting and tattooing at the special Diwali Mela organised by Shelter Don Bosco on November 7. The Mela was aimed at helping the youth explore future career options through career guidance.

The Mela 
began with the children going through the process of registration. A prayer service followed. Nishant Sinha, the CSR Manager of the Mahanagar Gas Limited, was the chief guest for the event. At the inauguration, children were shown a short video on the importance of Diwali. A short play, focused on the importance of making the right decisions in life, was then enacted. During the post-lunch session, children were treated to a magic show and a talent competition. The youth displayed their talents through dance, music and poems. 
 
An inter-NGO dance competition followed, wherein all the NGO's prepared their children to participate in the competition. Dances on various cultures and styles were displayed. After the dance competition a jam session was organised. The cultural programme continued with the boys of Shelter Don Bosco putting  up two breathtaking dances. The winners of the dance and talent competition also displayed their talents, once again, on public demand. 

The children also interacted with the Bollywood personality Boman Irani, who made a special appearance at the end of the programme. He addressed the gathering and also sang the famous song, 'Give me some sunshine' from the famous movie, 3 Idiots. Before all the children left for the evening, they were treated to fireworks, which added to the celebratory fervour. 

BIS #4604 A VISIT THAT MADE A DIFFERENCE

by BIS Correspondent

AHMEDNAGAR, NOV 9, 2015: Nine working and college-going youth from the St John's Parish, Ahmednagar, accompanied by Cl Vishal and Cl Ranson visited the Asha Kiran Institute, a rehabilitation centre for children suffering from HIV, at Pimpalgaon Ujjani,Ahmednagar on November 8. 

The centre is run by the sisters from the Helpers of Jesus congregation, under the guidance of the Jesuits.  Twelve children are currently being cared for at the centre.  The parish youth interacted with the children, reverend nuns and made an offering in kind towards the assistance of the children. 

The youth left the premises feeling blessed for this encounter. They resolved to remember and assist the institute and those with similar objectives, spiritually and materially in the future too.

Friday, November 6, 2015

BIS #4603 BANKING ON A SECURE FUTURE

by Fr George Dabreo and Fr Bento D'souza

AURANGABAD, NOV 6, 2015: The Bosco Gramin Vikas Kendra(BGVK) has since its inception in 1988, catered to the upliftment of the poor rural masses and helped bring about social justice.  Twelve youngsters from BGVK in Waluj have now availed of the opportunity to take loans under a Government-run scheme to start small businesses.

The youth received sums from Rs 50,000 to Rs. 1,60,000, under the Mudra Loan scheme - to put basic infrastructure in place to start businesses. The twelve youth in total availed of a loan of Rs 8.2 lakhs. The Mudra Loan scheme was launched on April 8, 2015 by Micro Units Development and Refinancing Agency with Rs 20,000 crores invested for small businesses.

The money is available for young entrepreneurs in the following three stages. Shishu or kids loan of Rs one to Rs 50,000. Kishore or Adolescence Loan from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakhs. Tarun or youth loan from Rs 5 lakhs to Rs 10 lakhs. Under the scheme, youth find it easier to avail of finances for their start-up, as there is no need for a witness  or a mortgage. The only criteria is that the recipient should be above 18 years of age, have an Election card, an Adhar card and should have paid his light bill and provide two photographs.

BGVK Waluj has done a lot of mobilisation and helped the needy cope with a harsh and cruel drought-prone environment. Making farmers 'empty themselves, stand up and walk by lifting up their gaze' is the slogan of the Salesian presence in Marathwada. A statement read, "This is the Rights-based approach at its best and we are working hand in hand with poor farmers, our target group, to alleviate poverty and bring luxury and freedom from want into the lives of our priority group, the struggling farmer." 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

BIS #4602 TACKLING SUBSTANCE ABUSE AMONG CHILDREN

BDr Susan Mathew

MUMBAI, NOV 4, 2015: The Don Bosco Research Centre's teacher training programme on substance abuse at the Provincial House on October 30, witnessed the participation of 70 teachers from various schools across the city. Dakshayani Madangopal, CEO, Don Bosco Research Centre (DBRC) highlighted the importance of the workshop, while Father Ajoy Fernandes, the Director, welcomed the participants. 

Pre-workshop forms were distributed to teachers to assess their understanding about substance abuse. The first resource person for the day, Dr Atul Aswani, counsellor and psychiatrist at the Ivy Clinic in Mumbai, started the session by pointing out that 55,000 children in India are introduced daily to smoking and that 25 crore children and adolescents were likely to die of tobacco related diseases in the long term.

He touched upon the various types of substances, meaning of substance dependence, intoxication, tolerance, withdrawal including the life threatening symptoms of complicated withdrawal. Transition from the gateway drugs like alcohol and tobacco to becoming dependant on hard forms of drugs and usage of drug cocktail (a dangerous combination of one or more drugs) was made clear to the group.

Primacy of drug seeking behaviour, narrowing of the drug repertoire, increased tolerance to drug effects, loss of control over consumption and rapid reinstatement of previous patterns of drug use after abstinence was all part of the 'dependence syndrome.' Talking on why children use drugs, Dr Aswani reiterated the fact that attention seeking behaviour, environmental factors, peer pressure, genetic loading and learned helplessness contributed significantly. Transition times rendered the children more susceptible to the risk of substance abuse and teachers needed to be vigilant.

Teachers are the main stakeholders in the life of a child and are expected to take note of the signs and symptoms of children getting dependant on substances and help the child to come out of it, and also empower those children who are vulnerable to taking substances to say 'no'.

Some of the referral services in Mumbai were mentioned where the teachers could refer the children for professional help. Teachers also shared their experiences in dealing with some of the cases, challenges and also sought ways and means to address the issues at their work place.

The session on the role of teachers was handled by Swapnil Pange, student counsellor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Due to the risk factors like transition time, emotional and social challenges, pill taking society and brain not being fully formed, youngsters were vulnerable to substance addiction, and it was important to initiate talks about the ill-effects of substance abuse in homes as well as in schools before it was too late.


The various internal and external factors involved were highlighted. Protective factors such as self-acceptance, supportive family, saying no to drugs, caring relationship, obeying laws and avoidance of delinquent peers needed to be strengthened.  Talking to parents, follow up for treatment, family counselling were some of the measures to address the issue. 

He highlighted the role of school principals and counsellors in early intervention and prevention, collaboration with the local police, parents and treatment agencies and helping parents to develop effective parenting skills to deal with the issue. He stressed upon the role of life skill training and assertiveness training that would enable children to say "NO" to drugs. Before the conclusion of workshop, post training forms were filled by the teachers and certificates of participation were distributed.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

BIS #4601 WOMEN EMPOWERED WITH SKILL-BASED TRAINING

by Mahesh Kumar

MUMBAI, NOV 3, 2015: The Don Bosco Development Office succeeded in its efforts to empower 169 women, from a series of slums across Mumbai, by imparting skill-based training to help them earn their livelihood.  The women, from 12 different localities, attended their Graduation ceremony at the Provincial House in Matunga on October 30, after they successfully added to their skill-sets. The graduates hailed from slums in Kurla, Dharavi, Matunga, Wadala and Dockyard. 

The program began with a short prayer service. Unnikrishnan, CSR head of the Eastern Shipping Company, was the chief guest for the event. Father Glenn Lowe and Father Adolph Furtado were the other dignitaries present at the ceremony. Father Rolvin D'Mello, executive director,  Don Bosco Development Society welcomed the gathering after the prayer service.

The application of the skills- learned and acquired- was the main focus of the speeches made by the dignitaries. 
Some women also shared their excitement about how the training will help them to earn their livelihood. The programme ended with the distribution of certificates.

Imparting skills, forms a part of the women-empowerment activities being conducted by the Development office. The office took a cue to conduct the training from Skill India, which is a Government of India Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship initiative. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

BIS #4600 FOSTERING PEACE AND HARMONY THROUGH SPORT

by BIS Correspondent

MUMBAI, NOV 2, 2015: The International Olympic Committee has time-and-again stressed the importance of sport being a great unifier of people and nations. Indeed, the Olympic values of "striving for excellence", "demonstrating respect" and "celebrating friendship" are aimed at encouraging people to get on better and thus promoting peace.

The Don Bosco Educational Complex in Borivli, true to this belief, celebrated their Sports Festival entitled "I stand for Life" and "Sports for Peace and Harmony" on October 29 and 30. The event showcased sporting talent from athletic track-and-field events, football, hockey, basketball, cricket, badminton, chess, carrom and table tennis.

Students, from Kindergarten to Junior College, participated in this festival. The Chief Guest on the first day was Ranjan Negi, the former goalkeeper of the Indian hockey team. Students of the Higher Secondary and the Junior College participated in a grand march past, at the onset, before hoisting their respective sports flags, reciting a sports prayer and taking an oath. Juniors, sub-juniors and tiny tots then performed aerobic displays and mass drill. Various athletic events like, running 100mts, 200mts, 400mts, short-put, long jump, relay were conducted later. 

Shivanand Shetty, a BMC Councillor and President of Vidhansabha Congress, was the Chief Guest on the second day. Students were awarded certificates and medals for their achievements. Houses were also awarded prizes based on their student's performance. Father Donald Fernandez, the Principal, gave a vote of thanks at the end of the event.


BIS #4599 CELEBRATING SPORT TO FOSTER GROWTH

by  BIS Correspondent 

NAVI MUMBAI, OCT 31, 2015: The old adage, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy", holds true even today; and Dominic Savio Kindergarten, Nerul ensured students in their care set aside their books for a day, to compete in their 10th Annual sports meet on October 30.

The theme for the event was 'Flowers.' Students from pre-nursery classes performed march past.

They then presented a spectacular display of drills. Playgroup A & B presented a drill display on 'Sunflower.'

Whereas Playgroup C & D performed a drill on 'Roses.' A number of track events based on the theme were held.

The event concluded with the prize distribution for the winners of the various classes by the chief guest.

The chief guest, Agnes Roshan - a Special educator - Radcliffe School, Kharghar was very impressed with the theme-based drills that were held.

The importance of sport has been time and again stressed world-over.  "Through play children explore, invent and create. They also develop social skills, learn to express their emotions, and gain confidence about their own capabilities," a statement from UNICEF claims.

"Early childhood marks a critical period in the life of a child, and can set the foundation for healthy development and life-long learning. Research shows that early childhood is the most critical period for brain development, and that experiences in the first years of life have more lasting impact on mental health and development than any others."

"Throughout the life of a child, sport and play can be valuable tools to promote health and prevent disease, both through sport itself, and through the participatory act of watching others play, with the associated communication, education and social interaction that games can produce."