by Maria Rodrigues
AHMEDNAGAR, FEB 23, 2017: The Salesian Cooperators of the Mumbai province set out for their annual Outreach Programme to the Missions of Ahmednagar on February 17. They were joined by the members of the ADMA group together with the Provincial Delegate Father Vivian D'Souza and Father Bento D'Souza.
The group left Matunga by bus on the eve of February 17 and after a long drive, their first stop was at Bosco Gramin Vikas Kendra, Kedgaon (BGVK) at 4:00 am. The early hour did not deter Father George D'Abreo, director of the centre from welcoming the guests.
The visitors were ready by 7:30 am for Holy Mass, celebrated by Father Vivian and concelebrated by Father Bento. After breakfast Father D'Abreo explained the scope of the institution and its works through a PowerPoint presentation, detailing the various projects and schemes carried out by the centre.
The Institute reaches out to the rural poor, village women and youth, making them aware of the different government schemes available and also working on mega projects like watershed development - as the area faces major water scarcity - and Self Help Groups for rural women and youth.
There was a guided tour around the other three Salesian houses at Nagar: St. Anne's Parish, St. John's, Bhingar and Don Bosco, Savedi. The group was impressed with the work, the mission and village apostolate carried out by the Salesians at these places.
They even met the Cooperators of the region. The Salesians arranged a guided tour of the farm at BGVK and a visit to the nearby village where the visitors met families and interacted with them.
On February 19, the group experienced parish life, with the Holy Eucharist celebrated in Marathi at St. Anne's. After a small local snack, they visited the village at Pimpalgaon - around 110 km away - that has a horticulture unit where oranges and pomegranates are grown. It is one of the extremely successful and popular projects of BGVK.
The fruits of the hard labour of Father D'Abreo and his predecessors, especially Brother Alex was evident at the site. Along the way, the guests met villagers and distributed biscuits and other items they had brought.
They also learnt about the various ways in which the local families have benefitted from the expertise of BGVK. While the elders work in the orchards, the children study Engineering, Hotel Management and other courses at Don Bosco Institutions.
The villagers treated the guests to a local feast, after which they left for Mumbai, grateful to Father Vivian D'Souza, Jacinta D'Souza, the provincial coordinator and the others who provided them with an enriching Outreach experience.