INDIA: Don Bosco Nest Center holds youth festival for 250 young migrants
(MissionNewswire) The Don Bosco Nest Center, located in the city of Thiruppur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, organized a Youth Festival for young migrants. The event was attended by more than 250 boys and girls. Father Xavier Michael, director of Don Bosco Nest, welcomed the young migrants during the event and Fr. Gerard Pinto from the INM Province spoke, explaining the importance of the Preventive System to young migrants. The festival featured various games and cultural activities including innovative presentations, dances, music and rituals.
“Culture and community are an integral focus of our work with youth around the globe,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “This festival is an example of the kind of opportunities Salesian missionaries provide to youth to highlight who they are and where they come from and to encourage them to celebrate their differences and many talents. Events like these work to build character, self-esteem and cultural pride as well as educate the surrounding community.”
Don Bosco Nest offers residential care for street children and aims to combat child labor through education and prevention. Salesian missionaries at Don Bosco Nest provide child rights education and vocational training courses in subjects that include computer applications, sewing machine operator, garment making and tailoring. In addition, the center offers internship opportunities, job placement, counseling and sports.
Salesian programs across India have been working with migrants of all ages in both educational and residential settings and by setting up special programs to meet their needs. In 2017, Salesian missionaries at the Don Bosco Veedu Society in Trivandrum launched a new initiative called, “Shramik Kalyan Kendr” (SKK), which serves as a help desk for young migrant workers living in Trivandrum. The initiative was begun in response to the many migrant workers arriving at East Fort Junction as early as 5:30 a.m. to wait for potential employers to offer them work and to bargain for their day’s pay. The new SKK initiative reaches out to this large migrant population and provides services to them directly.
Before the program was launched, Salesian missionaries spoke to migrants and assessed what services they needed and then modeled the program to meet those needs. Through the SKK program, the Don Bosco Veedu Society now provides access to medical care, secure employment, language classes and assistance addressing grievances.
Salesian missionaries at the Don Bosco Veedu Society also help youth and children at risk including child laborers, child beggars, runaways and those living on the street, in conflict with the law, from an abusive background or unaccompanied or lost. The organization has four main centers where missionaries provide shelter, counseling, vocational programs, skills training and rehabilitation programs for street youth.
India has the world’s fourth largest economy but more than 22 percent of the country lives in poverty. About 31 percent of the world’s multidimensionally poor children live in India, according to a new report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. A multidimensionally poor child is one who lacks at least one-third of 10 indicators, grouped into three dimensions of poverty: health, education and standard of living.
Salesian missionaries living and working in India place special emphasis on rescuing and rehabilitating children engaged in child labor. There are Salesian-run programs throughout the country that have helped hundreds of thousands of vulnerable youth through the years, and this work continues today.
ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)
World Bank – India