Thursday, March 31, 2016

BIS #4812 PARENTS MEETING AT SHELTER DON BOSCO

by Brother Akhil Abraham

 

MUMBAI, MAR 31, 2016: On March 30, the management and staff of Shelter Don Bosco organised a meeting with the parents of the boys of the Shelter. The purpose was to give them information about their wards and how they need to start thinking about their child's future. Parents of 21 boys were present. 

 

The meeting began at 10:30 in the morning with a short prayer service. Father Gregory D'Almeida then welcomed the parents. The meeting continued with Nitin Jumle, marketing associate from the Bank of India, who spoke about saving money and how to use a recurring fixed deposit account. He used many examples to help the parents understand his point.  

 

Kishor Patil, cashier of Allahabad Bank, spoke about the savings account and how it is important as parents to initiate this process. Sachin Nalavade, insurance consultant for LIC, spoke about the Public Welfare Insurance Scheme on health and accident policy and the role of parents in their child's educational plans. 

 

Later, Father Jesu Robinson spoke to the parents about the running of the house and how the boys have excelled in various fields. Father D'Almeida emphasised the role of parents and how it is important for them to build a relationship with their child. 

 

Brother Akhil Abraham spoke about what parents can do on their part, to make their child's future bright. The parents were also given an orientation on the Child Welfare Committee and how it functions. The meeting ended with a fellowship meal for all the parents.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

BIS #4811 YOUTH PASCH 2016

by Brother Velasli Bandya

 

LONAVLA, MAR 30, 2016: Thirty eight youth from in and around Mumbai, who attended that annual Youth Pasch, reflected on Love, Forgiveness and living Christ-like lives at the three-day long meet, which was held in Don Bosco, Lonavla from March 23 onwards.

 

The Pasch was organised by Don Bosco Youth Services, Mumbai and was animated by Father Glenford Lowe, Father Ajoy Fernandes, Father Cleophas Braganza, Father Leon Cruz, Brother Velasli Bandya, Charmaine Moraes and Fatima Vallado. At the initial commitment session, the young people were challenged to bring about a positive change in their lives during the days of the Youth Pasch.

 

On Maundy Thursday, the sessions were based on the theme, "Love as I have loved." At the morning meditation, the youth washed each other's feet and reflected on the meaning of this action. During the session on love and relationships, they analysed the various types of love, commitment and relationships.

The Exodus journey was an outdoor experience, where they recalled the experiences of the Israelites and compared them to their own life. At sunset, they participated in the solemn celebration of the Lord's Supper, part of which was enacted in the style of the original Jewish Seder meal. The day concluded with quiet moments of adoration with the Eucharistic Lord.

 

The theme for Good Friday was, "Forgive as I have forgiven." The day started with a meditation on the parable of the prodigal son, followed by a session on the culture of life and death. The Labyrinth prayer garden experience was an opportunity for self-discovery and inner healing.

The evening was spent in reflecting on the Passion of the Lord through a meaningful celebration of the Lord's Passion and the Way of the Cross animated by the youth. The day came to an end with the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the symbolic nailing of sins to the Cross.

 

On Holy Saturday, the theme was, "Live as I have lived." The day began with a meditation at the foot of the Cross, followed by a session on forgiveness and new life. The empty tomb experience helped the young people to realise where their lives were heading and to make necessary course corrections. In the evening, in the session 'Faces of Christ', they shared what personal associations they made with Jesus.

 

The day ended with a session on commitment, in which they reflected upon their experiences and took decisions for the future. The Easter Vigil Service was made meaningful by the liturgy animated by the youth themselves. It was followed by the Via Lucis- The Way of Light.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

BIS #4810 DON BOSCO SCHOOL UNVEILS NEW SPORTS FACILITY

by BIS Correspondent

PUNE, MAR 9, 2016:  Students and staff of Don Bosco High School in Yerwada have yet another reason to be proud of their institution, as the management inaugurated an astro-turf pitch and a newly-laid basketball court on March 26, to give students an opportunity to develop their sporting potential.    


Father Savio Silveira, Vice Provincial of the Mumbai province, blessed the newly-laid surface, which is of international standard. This turf has been instituted to promote football at a grass-root level, to train underprivileged boys and girls for football and basketball and motivate them to aspire to represent India at the highest levels.

The turf is fitted with 60 mm artificial grass with an infill of rubber granules and silica sand, while the basketball court is made of eight layers of rubberizes and a synthetic surface.
 
Sambhaji Kadam, a former India  basketball captain, Father Anton D'Souza, parish priest of Sacred Heart parish, Father Bosco D'Mello, Father Francis Fernandes and Father Cletus D'Souza were present at the inauguration.

Father Silveira, in his address, reminded the gathering of the playground being the most important place in moulding youngsters, according to the Don Bosco Way. He encouraged the community to keep this facility open to the underprivileged youngsters as per the vision of Don Bosco and also to motivate the youth to make a career in sports and not just for recreation.

The community of Don Bosco, Nerul, generously sponsored the project. Past pupils and the Youth for Christ, the parish youth team, put the turf surface to test shortly after the inauguration by competing in an exhibition match.

On Easter Sunday, the parish youth organised an inter-zonal basketball and seven-a-side football tournament. Each zone of the parish put up teams for basketball and football. The parish community gathered in the afternoon to witness the grand event. Our Lady of Lourdes zone won both the basketball and football tournament.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

BIS #4809 SALESIAN FAMILY ON A MISSION EXPERIENCE IN GUJARAT

by Schlainne Patel

 

GUJARAT, MAR 25, 2016: The provincial delegate of the Salesian Family, Father Vivian D'Souza, along with 17 members of the Mumbai province comprising the Wadala, Bandra, Andheri, Virar and Lonavala units went for a mission experience to Gujarat on March 12.

 

Father Pravin Makwana, Rector at Don Bosco Narukot along with his team, welcomed them at Vadodara station and led them to their destination at Narukot. 

 

Father Makwana with colleagues Father Ashwin Macwan, the administrator and Brother Alex Carvalho had a planned itinerary for the group for the tenure of their stay. This included visiting the villages of Narukot, Duma, Chotaudepur, Kawant and Thalki.  

 

Catechist Yesudas was the tour guide and showed the visitors the Mass centre at Duma village, which is 19kms from Narukot. They also visited a few homes of the villagers in the neighbourhood, who large-heartedly shared with them their simple meals. The group enjoyed the rustic experience of sitting on a charpai -cot-  and eating the villager's staple vegetable and 'rotla',  a hand-made roti of bhajra flour. Some women Cooperators also got a hands-on demo on how to make the rotlas.  

 

At Chotaudepur, 50kms away from Duma, the visitors experienced the Haat, a weekly Saturday market. After shopping, they then headed for the Don Bosco house at Chotaudepur. Post-lunch the group toured the vast campus. The Don Bosco home in Chottaudepur houses the largest boarding in the province, with a capacity of 600 boarders at a time. The current number stood at 265 boys.  

 

Father Brian Buthelo then briefed the group  about his challenges in setting up the home back in 1975. Cooperator Chandran was also estatic to meet his son, Father Charlin, currently based at Chottaudepur.  

 

The group then headed to Kawant, which is a further 25kms away. Here the house accommodates above 150 boarders. After a tour and savouring a local potato delicacy- resembling the samosa- with chai, the group  proceeded to Thalki, which is 60kms away.  


Thalki has a Mass centre and Father Makwana and Father D'Souza celebrated Holy Mass . The group was specially grateful to Catechist Yesudas, who was the organist, choir master and liturgist; and his wife Pushpa, who work joyfully and tirelessly to witness Christ to the people in Duma and Thalki villages. 

 

Day two began with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, with pious bhajan singing by the youth.  Then there was a Bal-Mela orgainsed as part of  the Village Education Project on the campus of Don Bosco Home, Narukot. 560 children attended the mela from 22 different villages. They participate in different activities organised by the boarders of Don Bosco Home Narukot. 


The purpose of the Bal Mela or village education project is to introduce higher education to village children.  In the villages, education upto standard five is provided.  From standard six onwards, children have to travel to distant places to attend regular classes and exams. Owing to these difficulties, many children drop out. 

The Bal Mela is a way of showing the children what they can get once enrolled for further education. Interested candidates are then housed in the Don Bosco home as boarders, if they come from extremely backward areas.  


Post lunch Father Pravin, took the group on a tour of the  40 acre  campus on  a tractor, showing them mangroves and teak plantations; telling them  stories of the blue bulls and wild animals coming there for prey and water. For some visitors of the Salesian family, this village experience was a first, and all went back home with memorable experiences of the hospitality and warmth they received.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

BIS #4808 FAITH FESTIVAL CELEBRATED IN KUWAIT

by Shaju Paul

 

KUWAIT, MAR 23, 2016: Two hundred and twenty eight catechism students from Saint Therese of Child Jesus Parish in Kuwait attended the day-long Faith Festival programme, entitled 'Year of Mercy' at Saint Chavara Hall on March 19.

 

The programme was organised by the Syro-Malabar Catechism ministry and students- from standard one to twelve- were guided by 11 catechism teachers and 15 volunteers during the session.

 

Shaju Paul Konnackel, the main coordinator of the programme, welcomed all the participants and thanked the parishioners for all the support he received while organising the event. Then, the parish priest, Father Blany Pinto, inaugurated the programme.

 

Father Johnson Nedumpurath, the priest in-charge of Syro-Malabar catechism, invited each participant to gain more knowledge on the Year of Mercy and reminded them that the goal of gaining knowledge was to grow in mercy and forgiveness.  

 

The activities organised during the day - like a Bible quiz, Bible Mime, drawing competition, action songs and skits - were designed to help the participants to acquaint themselves with the Holy Bible and the Year of Mercy. Holy Mass was celebrated by Father Nedumpurath as a grand closing of the festival.

Monday, March 21, 2016

BIS #4807 EMPOWERING PAR

by BIS Correspondent 

 

HYDERABAD, MAR 21, 2016: The first regional seminar on Participatory Action Research (PAR) and Training and Orientations for Young at Risk Centre's (YaR) in South Asia was organised by Don Bosco Navajeevan, Ramanthapur in Hyderabad between March 14 and 17.

 

Thirty researchers from YaR sectors along with their director attended the seminar. Day one began with presentations from researchers from 10 YaR centres. Researchers were given 15 minutes to present and discuss their issue.

 

Father Ajoy Fernandes, Father George Kollashany and Professor Manti were the facilitators for the paper presentation. At the end of day two, all the directors shared their experiences and the importance of PAR.

 

On day three and four, PAR training and orientations were given to all the researchers. The purpose of the training was to know the progress of each PAR centre and to guide them in their further process. Father TD John also mentioned the importance of participation from the focus group if they want to achieve a success-indicator for the child. A group activity was also conducted and individual feedback was given.


From Mumbai YaR sector, Father Gregory D'Almeida, Director of Shelter Don Bosco and Don Bosco Balprafulta, Reena Bhosle, a care administrator and three researchers, namely, Alisha Parshurami, Jitesh Pillai and Eustace Fernandes attended the seminar.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

BIS #4806 DON BOSCO DEVELOPMENT SOCIETY CELEBRATES WOMEN’S DAY

by Mahesh Kumar

 

MUMBAI, MAR 16, 2016: Over 1200 women from different slum pockets of Mumbai participated in the International Women's day programme organised by Don Bosco Development Society (DBDS) on March 13, at the Don Bosco School Campus, Matunga. 

 

The women were from the 128 Self Help Groups, established by DBDS since 2007, to help them in building their capacity on rights based issues, vocational skills and income improvement.

 

Along with a cultural programme, there was a a free medical camp- for over 450 women- in collaboration with Lilavati Hospital. Following intensive selection sessions conducted in the slums communities by the social workers of DBDS, those women belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL), the sick, those under treatment, widows and the most deserving were selected for the medical camp. 

 

The event began at eight in the morning with the medical camp conducted in the Provincial House building. 19 doctors and 28 support staff worked to ensure the women had a chance to be screened for all the four specialities: gynaecology problems, skin diseases, cardiac problems and a cancer detection test. 

 

Free medicines were also provided for those in need. "We cannot imagine we could benefit from the medical services of a hospital like Lilavati, that too free of cost," said one of the beneficiaries.

 

The inauguration programme was held at 11.45 am by remembering victims of domestic violence and dowry harassment. It was followed by a short prayer service. The dignitaries present were Krishna Prakash, Inspector General of Police, Shalini Sharma, Senior Inspector, Chembur, Father Godfrey D'Souza, Salesian Provincial of Mumbai province, Father Savio Silveira,  Vice Provincial and Father Elson Barretto, the Economer.

 

The highlight of the day was the cultural programme that got the gathering all excited.Through a street play on the importance of education for women, a fashion show on national integration and a dance competition, DBDS aimed at strengthening the concept of equality, education and empowerment of women in our society.

 

They also had talks on health and managing the finances of the self- help groups. The women were also treated to lunch and snacks. Fr Edwin D'Souza, Rector,  Shrine of Don Bosco's Madonna, Dr Aardhana Wagh and Balasaheb, Inspector, Matunga were the Guests of Honour for the cultural programme. 

 

The event was organised by Father Rolvin D'Mello, Executive Director DBDS and his team.

BIS #4805 ORATORY DAY AT BOSCO UDYOGSHALA

by Joel Almeida

 

PINGULI, MAR 16, 2016: "The Oratory plays a vital role in the pastoral ministry of a Salesian," said Father Maxim, Rector of Bosco Udyogshala, Pinguli on the occasion of their Oratory Day held on March 13. The day concluded the Sunday Apostolate of the pre-novices traditionally called as 'Oratories'.

 

The celebration began with a prayer service, invoking God's blessings. The theme for the events was, "Run, Jump, Play but do not Sin." The programme consisted of telegames, fete games, lunch and a cultural fiesta.  

 

Various items were put up- by the different oratories- which were both entertaining and educative. The programme concluded with a jam session where the fathers, brothers and the oratory youngsters grooved to the beats of popular Bollywood numbers.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

BIS #4804 DON BOSCO CHALLENGE CUP 2016

by BIS Correspondent

 

MUMBAI, MAR 15, 2016: 'The candle burned out long before the legend ever will …' Elton John's rendition of 'Candle in the wind' captures the tragic circumstances that surrounded the untimely death of seven students - Bernadette D'Souza, Taha Shaikh, Sharjeel Shaikh, Aakash Thapar, Brian Fernando, Sajid Chaudhary and Irvin D'Souza – from Don Bosco College in Kurla, in deadly blaze that engulfed the Kurla eatery they visited in October 2015.

 

Four-months on, their college paid tribute to them by organising 'Don Bosco Challenge Cup 2016', a month-long football tournament, which began on February 14 and ended on March 13.

 

"It's not easy to deal with the tragedy, for the parents, their colleagues and the management. We cannot bring them back but can keep their memories alive," Father Joe Braganza, wrote in the circular announcing the Don Bosco Challenger Cup. "Considering that some of them were popular footballers, we felt a football tournament in their memory would be a fitting tribute for the young lives 'Gone too soon'."

 

Entry to the, eight-a-side tournament, was restricted to 16 top teams from the MDFA Elite, Super and First divisions. Matches were contested over two 25-minute-long halves, with a total prize pool of Rs. 70,000/- at stake.

 

Kenkre under-19's emerged eventual winners, as they edged out Karnatak Sporting Association (KSA), 5-3 in the final via a penalty shoot-out. Kenkre dominated in the first half. Their first chance came early when Shuntan played an early cross in the box, but the referee caught Arfhat off-side, as he attempted to break the ice. 

KSA counter attacked with an attempt from Nadeem Khan, whose powerful shot was fired wide off the left-hand post. As the match matured, both sides looked to defend, as a result neither side created enough goal-scoring chances. The cautious approach hampered fluidity and consistency in their attacks as a number of half-chances and potential goal-scoring chances from open-play and set-pieces were wasted.

 

In the dying minutes of the half, Kenkre drew first blood, as Nathan Fernandes made the most of a clever back-heeled pass from Arfat Ansari, to find the net.

 

The second-30 minutes began in a similar fashion to the first-half. Kenkre attacked, but failed to add to their tally. As the match reached its climax, KSA came agonizingly close to an equalizing-goal, but heroics from Kenkre's goalkeeper, Joe, kept them at bay. KSA finally drew even - in the first minute of added time - when Shailesh J tapped in the equalizer from close-range.

 

In the pulsating penalty shoot-out that followed, Kenkre's side kept their composure and Shuntan scored the winning penalty that helped his side lift the title. Shuntan bagged the award for the Best Defender of the tournament and Shailesh J was duly credited as the Best player of the tournament.

BIS #4803 CHRISTIAN JOURNALISTS AND FAMILY VALUES

by Father Joaquim Fernandes

 

PUNE, MAR 15, 2016: The Indian Catholic Press Association convened the 21st National Convention of Christian Journalists on the theme "Christian Journalists and Family Values" from March 11 to 13, at Ishvani Kendra in Pune.

 

The keynote address was delivered by the Bishop of Pune, Thomas Dabre. He spoke on the recently held Catholic Bishops Conference of India, General Body Assembly which identified challenges within the church and the country, like the declining family values, growing materialism, consumerism and addiction to social media due to a decline of spiritual and moral values, growing indifference and lack of commitment to the Christian values and insensitivity regarding gender, caste, language, creed, status and religion. 

 

He enumerated that as Christian journalist, you have the responsibility to be persons of authentic Christian commitment and spiritual and moral integrity. As journalist you are expected to write in accordance with Christian values and principles. With all our strategies for justice and for redress of injustices and grievances, in the final analysis, Christ' message of forgiveness will bring peace and happiness to the world.

 

The next session was moderated by Dr Michael Gonsalves, senior assistant editor, Financial Chronicle on the theme, 'Journalists: Catalysts of Change' by Father Shiju Joseph, CSC and the Influence of Media on Families by Shashi Minz, ex-commissioner for Customs and Excise and Service Tax, Pune.

 

In the afternoon session, Father Joaquim Fernandes, SDB, regional delegate for Social Communications, South Asia spoke about 'New Media, New Cultures.' He spoke about the youth culture and fast changing culture of today's world and how the message and content is important rather than the gadgets. He enumerated the trends of Disruptive Management and how companies are getting defunct and outdated; and the new trends in the global industry impact family life and values due to the globalization process. The session was moderated by Father S M Michael, SVD, director, Ishwani Kendra.   

 

The next was a participatory session moderated by Father F M Britto. The experiences of Lawrence and Susan Coelho, Joyce Almedia, Ladislaus D'Souza and William Naidu were shared, who spoke of the impact of a Christian Journalist on family life.

 

The next day, Father Cletus D'Souza- and his team- from Sacred Heart Parish, Yervada, Pune spoke of their experiences on the importance of family life for children and youth today. 

 

The chief Guest for the Indian Catholic Press Association Award ceremony was Father Mohan Doss, SVD, dean of Theology, Papal Seminary. The Swamy Devanand Chakkungal Award for the best hindi journalist/author periodical was established in 2001 by ICPA with the support of the Indore Province of the Divine Word Missionaries, in memory of Father Devanand Chakkungal, SVD, a well known hindi writer.  

 

This award was conferred to Reggie David, for his outstanding contribution to catholic hindi literature. He is the Editor of the Jabulpur dicoesan magazine 'Sankalp.'  He is also the secretary of the Madhya Pradesh Hindi Sahitya Samiti.

 

The ICPA-CBCI SC/BC Commission Award was conferred to Kirubhai Bosso, a dalit activist and writer for his contribution to dalit causes and print media from Tamil Nadu. The SC/BC Special Award was instituted by the ICPA in collaboration with Catholic Bishops Conference of India office for scheduled castes/ backward classes to promote the welfare of the marginalised people.

 

The Indian Catholic Press Association (ICPA) elected former Editor of The Teenager, Father Alfonso Elengikal, as its President at the end of a three-day national convention and annual general body meeting held at Ishwani Kendre, Pune, March 13. 

 

The ICPA is a national forum of Catholic newspapers, periodicals, news agencies, publishing houses, editors, journalists, and teachers of journalism. It was founded in 1963 under the leadership of American Jesuit priest and founder editor of Sanjivan, Father John Barrett. It organises training and workshops and promotes ethics and values in the press and confers awards. Since 1995, the ICPA has held national conventions in different parts of the country on pertinent themes related to the press in India. 

 

Accepting his responsibility to lead the ICPA, Father Elengkal said he, along with the new team of office bearers would make every effort to strengthen the association by bringing together catholic journalists in the country.

 

Besides the president, the general body elected a 10-member executive committee to lead the ICPA for a three-year term. They are: vice president: Ignatius Gonsalves, secretary: Jose Vincent K J, joint secretary: Father Vijay Isaac, treasurer: Father Jayan Nakapuzha, EC member easter region: Father Francis Stephen, EC member northern region: Father Francis Arackal, EC member southern region: Sebastian Kallarackal, EC member western region: Father John Froz SJ, EC Member - institution: Father John Gilbert, SSP, EC member - women: Sr Benigna Menezes. This year the ICPA will shift its headquarters to New Delhi.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

BIS #4803 MANTRA FOR SUCCESS AT CHINCHWAD

by Agnel James and Sheldon Dias

 

CHINCHWAD, MAR 12, 2016: Twelve senior executives from SKF, a leader in offering automobile manufacturing solutions, addressed the students from the Institute of Don Bosco in Chinchwad about the technical, character and behavioral skills essential to achieve success in life, on March 10.

 

SKF built a training lab and an interactive room at the Don Bosco Private Industrial Training Institute, in 2015, to provide students, from marginalized backgrounds, with the best of theoretical and practical knowledge of automobile-parts manufacturing.

 

The institute offers a superlative learning experience in a simulated environment. The interactive room facilitates, collaborative and interactive learning about automotive vehicle principles and applications, through the latest technology and e-learning courses, make the students tech- savvy mechanics that can provide high quality reliable service to their customers. 

 

SKF Automotive serves manufacturers of cars, light trucks, heavy trucks, trailers, buses, two-wheelers and the vehicle aftermarket, supporting them with innovative and sustainable solutions. In addition, SKF Automotive provides energy-saving solutions for home appliances, portable power tools and electric motors.

 

The SKF Managers from Mexico, Japan, Italy, Germany, USA and Sweden experienced first-hand the work being done at the institute to empower the youth with technical skills in partnership with Don Bosco under the banner of YES- Youth Empowerment at SKF.

 

They were also taken around the other workshops and were happy to see the latest technologies brought in partnership with LORCH, BOSCH, Mahindra, Godrej, Knore Bremse and Mercedes, put at the disposal of the youth from poor backgrounds. 

 

The systematic and attractive layout of the workshop impressed them and one guest even said that the institute is making education 'simple and easy to understand.' 

 

Father Corlis Gonsalves, Rector and Manager, highlighted the history of the institute and it's development from being an uncultivated land to this huge multinational technical institute. One guest summed up the work being done as, 'Faith in action'.

Friday, March 11, 2016

BIS #4801 DBCL CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

by BIS Correspondent

 

MUMBAI, MAR 11, 2016: Staff and students of Don Bosco Campus of Learning (DBCL) in Kurla participated in a host of events – that ranged from handicraft exhibitions, to advice on women's safety issues - to mark International Women's day on March 8.

 

The celebration began at 10.30 am, with the inauguration of a handicraft exhibition set up by women, who were a part of self-help group. They had undergone entrepreneurial training at the institute.

 

Guests also had the option to feast on traditional Konkani snacks and pickles available at the food stalls on display.

 

A ten-member strong team from JP Morgan, most of whom are senior software developers, then organised the second event of the day for around 70 final year engineering students. They divided the girls into seven groups of ten girls each and and talked about corporate culture and the importance of students in the industry. 

 

Chitra Shingare, Senior MD of JP Morgan and Anirudha conducted the third session, that focused on entrepreneurship. They shared their experiences and hurdles associated with the business world.

 

Anand Mandya IPS, Mumbai Police who is DCP of Mumbai for security, then addressed the issue of women's safety. It was discussed in depth for the benefit of all the NSS volunteers, first year DBIT students, all girl students from DBIT and teaching, non teaching staff.

 

He used video presentations to raise awareness about dealing with certain dangerous situations that women face today. He also shared emergency phone numbers, which the students could contact if the need arises. 

 

To end the day-long celebration, a girl's Common Room – the hub of the Women Development Cell of DBIT – was inaugurated. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

BIS #4800 DON BOSCO NATIONAL FORUM FOR THE YOUNG AT RISK

by Bis Correspondent 

 

TRIVANDRUM, MAR 10, 2016: A host of youth-related issues ranging from youth prisoners, juvenile homes and human rights were discussed at that the Don Bosco National Forum for the Young at Risk (YaR) held at Bishop Benzinger Memorial Spirituality Center, Cotton Hill on February 4 and 5.

 

The seminar entitled 'Reaching the unreached, 18+ Young at Risk' drew a host of industry professionals, who addressed a range of issues. Adocate RV Rajesh, the Chairperson of the Kerala Youth Commission, was the Chief Guest and inaugurated the seminar. 

 

He talked about Kerala's achievements in various sectors and stressed on the problems of low per-capita income and high divorce rates. He added that these factors had given rise to unemployment, alcoholism among the young people. The session ended with the vote of thanks given by Father Thomas PD, Director of Don Bosco Veedu Society, Trivandrum.

 

Kshithij Urs, regional manager, Action Aid, India spoke at the first session and presented on 'migrant youth in the unorganized sector'. He said that the most important factor which influences policies is to have an "ants eye view" on issues. The other important areas which were discussed during the session were forced migration among youth, theory of change, health seeking behaviour in India and slum legislations.

 

The second session dealt with youth prisoners. Vikas Kadam - from Prayas of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - led the discussion on 'the right of the person and group in criminal justice.' He urged the audience to work together to empower youth, women and children and to initiate social work interventions. He added that people under the criminal justice system must be given the right to interact with family and ensure their security.  

 

In the third session, Arlene Manoharan, fellow and programme head, Juvenile Justice Center for Child and the Law, National Law School of India University presented few case studies of children in conflict with law.

 

Father Thomas Pallithanam then made a presentation on 'Human rights education in schools'. It was followed by a presentation by Father AM Jose, Director, DB Tech, New Delhi who spoke about 'Skilling as a strategy to empower the target group.' He stressed that the urgent need of YaR should be to provide skills to tackle unemployment issues among youth. He also highlighted DB Tech's work in tackling unemployment through bridging digital, social and economic divide in India by enhancing the employability and life management skills.  

 

The YaR awards followed. Father Mathew Thomas from Bosco, Bangalore was honoured for receiving the National Award for Child Welfare from the President of India. Shelter Don Bosco , Mumbai was honoured too. Don Bosco Balprafulta received 'Rashtriya Sanman Award' and 'Quality Brand India Award 2015 -17.'

 

Father Thomas Koshy was also honoured for being elected as a member of the committee for drafting model rules under the Juvenile Justice  (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India.

 

The DB YaR Excellence award from Mumbai and Delhi region was given to Don Bosco Snehalaya, Baroda and that of Hyderabad region was given to Don Bosco Navajeevan, Vishakhapatnam, Guwahati region to Rilang Children's Home, Shillong.

BIS #4799 ECHOES OF ZION BRINGS MATUNGA ALIVE

by Vivek D'Souza

 

MUMBAI, MARCH 9, 2016: Over 700 music lovers took to the quadrangle of Don Bosco School, Matunga, to seemingly immerse themselves in the lyrics and melody of Gospel band 'Echoes of Zion', who performed their first-ever gospel concert titled 'Alive' on March 6 .

 

The youth experienced God's presence through music and devotion.  Echoes of Zion, an initiative by Father McEnroe Lopes- the Salesian Vocation Promoter- took firm roots three years ago. It provided a platform for the youth to display their talents in the field of music.  The initiative featured a wide array of young musicians associated with Don Bosco Youth Services (DBYS).

 

"Having a band of praise and worship was just a thought.  We didn't even have musicians before, just a couple of singers," a band member said. "We then got introduced to Leo Lucas who played the keyboard. Leo was already a member of a band, so he encouraged all the other youngsters to join in.  Things were then set in motion once everyone got together.  We performed for the first time in 2014. It was a grand success and it encouraged us to perform at Don Bosco, Matunga!"

 

The power-packed night had soulful music, a vibrant stage, lighting and sound to heighten the experience and the participation of the audience in thanking and giving glory to God through music. The concert was attended by Father Godfrey D'Souza, Provincial of the Salesian province of Mumbai, Father Savio Silveira, Vice Provincial and members of the council, who were happy to see the initiative grow.

 

The young musicians performed a variety of popular Christian music which also featured renditions from the Christian rock band Hillsong.  Songs like, 'At the Cross', 'Yeshu Masih', 'I surrender' and the theme song 'Alive' set the stage rocking as the audience cheered on.  

 

A group of youngsters also venerated the 'Salesian Youth Movement (SYM) Cross ' as a remembrance and reflection during this time of Lent and the Year of Mercy. The closing act of the night was the band's 'My Redeemer Lives.' The audience got to hear a rendition of the track and witnessed immense devotion and participation.  The event was a collaboration of the  efforts of Father McEnroe Lopes, Echoes of Zion, the youth volunteers and the management.

 

Father D'Souza officially inaugurated the "Don Bosco Youth Services" application for mobile users on Android's Play Store. This proved to be a huge accomplishment as DBYS is all set to connect with young people via a digital platform.  

 

The app is meant to update users about sports events, recruitment services and to encourage youngsters with inspirational videos and other youth resources.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

BIS #4798 SPECIAL GUESTS VISIT DIVYADAAN

by Sathish Paul 

 

NASHIK, MAR 9, 2016: Three special guests, namely Father Guillermo Basaῆes, Father Filiberto González and Father Godfrey D'Souza – the Provincial of the Mumbai province - visited the community of Divyadaan on March 3.

 

Father Basaῆes is the General Councillor for Missions and Father González is the General Councillor for Social Communication. The Rector, Father Robert Pen, welcomed them to the community. Their inspiring words and thoughts deepened the zeal for the Salesian missions.

 

Father González reminded us that the primary means of communication is relationship. The human person is the centre of communication. Gadgets and other miscellaneous things are secondary.

 

The two General Councillors then celebrated the Holy Eucharist for the Salesian family in Nashik. After Holy Mass, a short felicitation program was held in their honour. During the programme, the guests joined the dance group and danced to the tunes of Punjabi bangra music, which added to the celebration.

 

The simple and humble presence of the Superiors delighted everyone. Their visit was a blessing to the Salesian family in Nasik, and particularly to Divyadaan.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

BIS #4797 TIRUCHY-BASED SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE BAGS AWARD

by Karen Laurie 

 

MUMBAI, MAR 8, 2016: True to the intentions of the Holy Father, Pope Francis, the Salesians of Don Bosco world-over have pledged to push the agenda of sustainable development to make for a brighter future through a green revolution.

 

Rector Major, Pascaul Chavez award for the most innovative ministry in the South Asian region in 2015 was presented to the Tiruchy Don Bosco Society (TDBS) for their student-based Eco-clubs initiative aimed at safeguarding our planet; at the Salesian Provincial Conference of South Asia held at the Provincial House, Matunga on February 28. The award was given by Father Maria Arokiam Kanaga, Regional Councillor, South Asia.

 

"I never thought that this initiative will bag Father Pascual Chavez Award 2015 for Innovative Salesian Ministry in South Asia. It is indeed an honour to the Province, to the Cauveri Development Office, to the members of Eco Clubs and a notable recognition of our creative initiatives," Father Albert Johnson, Provincial of Tiruchy Province, said.

 

The ministry, which began in 2012, essentially functions in the state of Tamil Nadu. The Eco-clubs carry out their work in Kalavasal, Melanmarainadu, Nettur, Pallithammam, K Pudur, Alalgar Koli, Keela Eral, Therespuram, Vilathikulam, Sayalgudi, Amsam, Manigandam, Langudi, Varadarajenpet, Ukkadam, Vellakkinar, Salem, Nilavarapatti, Namakkal, Kaliappanallur, Yaggapanagar, Mathakottai, Tiruppur, Dindigul and Koothankuli.

 

Father Ricopar Royan is the Executive Director of the Cauveri Development office. The ministry has - till date - started a total of 163 'Eco clubs', with around 3100 student members, actively participating in protection of our planet through environment and ecological education. These students have since cleaned 200 places, with the help of the local population and have sensitized locals about the environment. The clubs have planted a total of 5809 new saplings and have conducted 29 awareness programmes on the environment that have affected 1750 people.

 

"Environment Protection Initiatives through student based Eco Clubs is a programme that we envisaged to implement as one of the MDG goals which invites us to `Ensure Environmental Sustainability'. With many summits that are taking up environmental issues and climatic change as their main concern and the impact of such changes in our geographical areas, we planned together with our student bodies to initiate a simple and practical programme back in 2012. The programme has grown over the years and is spreading out with its multifaceted wings," Father Johnson said.

 

"The project started with planting of trees, awareness programmes on environment protection, clean up drives and cultural events on ecological themes, and now we are moving towards, waste management, establishment of kitchen and herbal gardens, promotion of practices that reduce usages of non-degradable materials and a conscious move towards organic farming, usage of solar equipments."

 

The ministry's goal is to ensure the protection of the environment. It believes that students play an integral part in achieving this goal, given that they are the future leaders of tomorrow. The program educates, sensitizes, as well as creates structures for promoting environmental-protection activities.

 

The students are organised into small groups of eco-clubs. Here, they are educated about the causes and impact of pollution, the importance of a clean environment, good hygiene practices and organising cleanliness drives. The students also observe and celebrate important environmental days, through theme-based events and organising rallies.

 

TDBS also plans to introduce 'Ecology and Environment' education in schools. Textbooks, workbooks and multi-media tools will be developed to educate children innovatively. They also plan to promote eco-care groups in villages and staff will be trained in solid waste management and non-biodegradable waste.

 

They also plan to involve women self-help groups, who will be educated and empowered towards environmental protection. Another planned initiative is to promote kitchen gardens and to train women in recycling household waste and preparing home-based bio-fertilizers, thus improving the quality of vegetables for daily sustenance.

     

The TBDS believes that initiatives of this nature are replicable in other parts of the country as well. The programme concept and methodology is applicable and can be replicated among all sections of society, irrespective of geographical, ethnic, gender or other differences.

Monday, March 7, 2016

BIS #4796 COOPERATOR'S LENTEN RECOLLECTION AT AHMEDNAGAR

by BIS Correspondent

 

AHMEDNAGAR, MAR 7, 2016: A Lenten Recollection was organised by Father Thomas D'Costa for the Salesian Cooperators of Savedi and St. Anne's on February 27, at St. Anne's Church, Ahmednagar.

 

The Recollection commenced with the celebration of Holy Eucharist followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Father D'Costa in his homily spoke of the importance of kindness and mercy, especially in this Jubliee Year of Mercy. 

 

Father D'Costa also spoke of how a Salesian Cooperator can win over a youth and draw them close to God, as Saint John Bosco did. During Adoration, the Salesian Cooperators made spontaneous prayers for one another and the province of Mumbai, before the Blessed Sacrament.

 

The participants included Sister Mangala along with 10 Savedi Cooperators, Aspirants and 28 Professed Salesian Cooperators of St. Anne's Unit. 

 

The Recollection concluded with the closing prayer and Benediction by Father D'Costa. The vote of thanks was proposed by Franklin Coutinho, President of the Salesian Cooperators of St. Anne's Unit. It was followed by a time of fellowship and dinner.

BIS #4795 HOMELINK TRAINING PROGRAM AT SHELTER DON BOSCO

by BIS Correspondent

 

MUMBAI, MAR 7, 2016: Homelink / Child MISS Search Network conducted a two- day training programme from February 29 to March 1 at Shelter Don Bosco, Wadala for its Mumbai Hub.


Homelink Network is a programme of the Don Bosco Young at Risk (YaR) Forum. YaR is an organisation committed to serving youth at risk in South Asia, while working to influence state, national and international policies on the safety of youth. 

 

Homelink consists of proprietary internet-based software, conceived and developed by the YaR Forum to gather information on children at risk throughout India. It is used to trace under-age children with the goal of monitoring, seeking and rehabilitating youth who have been abandoned or who are on the street. Over the years the system has been subject to consistent updates and improvements. 

 

The workshop was conducted by National Director of Child MISS, Father Thomas Aquinas and National Development Coordinator of Child MISS, Austin Francis. 12 Participants took part in the programme.

 

Various topics were covered namely: advantages of Child MISS for the institute, importance of documentation and reports which will help the organisation prepare their annual report and how the 'child' should be the main focus of all the activities. 

 

At the end of the programme, all participants were felicitated with a Certificate of Honour.

BIS #4794 YOUNG WARRIORS FIGHT FOR A GREENER TOMORROW

by Karen Laurie 

 

MUMBAI, MAR 7, 2016: "Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted,"  Leonardo Di Caprio said in his Oscar winning speech- one that will go down in history. 


Students from 50 schools in Mumbai are striving to be greener people, so we can have a greener world! Encouraged by their school management, students are involved in 'greening' projects, in a bid to become the next generation of environmental leaders.

 

From creating butterfly gardens to nesting sites, from amphibian habitats to crawly gardens, youngsters in the city are going beyond their books, to care for the most pressing issue affecting us today, the environment.

 

One such school is Sacred Heart High School, Vashi that has been awarded the Greenest School award by GreenLine- a Don Bosco Environmental organisation working in the city of Mumbai- on March 5 at Don Bosco International School, Matunga.  

 

Teacher Nirmala Nair, spearheading the eco movement- with another colleague- at Sacred Heart School says, "NGO's like GreenLine help us immensely. They conduct indoor and outdoor sessions with the kids, making it an interesting and hands-on experience for the students." Among other efforts, the school sells saplings, seeds and cloth bags at their open day. 

 

Through their Green Schools Campaign, GreenLine uses a theme each year and works with schools to educate students about conserving the ecology, via information sessions and activities like bird watching, insectspotting, natural photography and others. To sustain the enthusiasm among schools, the best performing schools and individuals are awarded prizes.

 

Father Savio Silveira, Director of GreenLine says, "Through their green initiatives students are getting more and more involved in larger issues, ones that affect the city."

 

Auxilium Convent High School, Lonavla for instance, has roped in neighbouring schools to conduct cleanliness drives. They even approached the Lonavla Municipal Corporation (LMC), who inspired by their enthusiasm, has formalised waste pickers by giving them badges. The LMC has also reduced the use of plastic bags by shops in Lonavla.

 

In line with Green School Campaign's 'Fauna watch' theme for the year, Nair used a waste tub, to create an amphibian pond in her school. It became a pet project for the eco club. Her principal encouraged them by building a permanent pool. "The Navi Mumbai Municipal corporation now provides us with tadpoles and guppies, to ensure the water doesn't stagnate," Nair said. 

 

Dr Parvish Pandya- recipient of the Green Teacher award by Santuary Asia-  who was the chief guest at the Greenline awards ceremony said to the students, "You won't become environmental experts in a year.  But this is a start; you now have to make it your lifelong commitment." 

 

The little green initiatives are turning the children into green warriors. Khushi Yadav, of Sacred Heart School, Worli, who won the Green Champ award for being the 'greenest student' in her school says, "We first made bird feeders in school, then I made it for my house too. We planted trees in our schools, excited- we later adopted the neighbouring plot and did tree plantation drives there."

 

Chairman of the Maschio Memorial Foundation- that funds the awards given to the winning schools - Father Edwin D'Souza says, "The foundation's thrust is to support innovation and by getting the students to nuture nature so young, you are ensuring the good habits grow with them."

 

The world may just have found the solution to all its ecological problems, in our young, who are our future and our hope!