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INDIA: Don Bosco’s Prafulta Psychological Services celebrates 20th anniversary providing psychological services to youth

(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco’s Prafulta Psychological Services, located on the campus of the Salesian St. Dominic Savio High School in Mumbai, India, recently celebrated its 20th anniversary providing psychological services to youth and families in the region.

As a result of rampant poverty, child abuse and exploitation as well as high incidences of child labor, many poor youth in India face psychological and emotional difficulties. Often, parents are unable to deal with these problems at home so turn to school staff and teachers for extra support.

Don Bosco’s Prafulta Psychological Services was started in 1998 and provides psychological evaluation and diagnosis, professional counseling, career guidance, remedial education, psychiatric services and occupational therapy. The organization’s psychologists and other professionals offer these services to individuals, groups and families to help aid independent functioning and improve quality of life.

“Thousands of people had been reached by the organization in many ways and the ones who were trained by Prafulta further reached out to many others,” says Father Godfrey D’Sa, founder and director Prafulta Psychological Services. “It is difficult to quantify our reach but we are in the process of building awareness of all that we do so that others know the importance of our work and issues within mental health.”

To help increase mental health awareness and meet the needs of children, Prafulta Psychological Services offers coursework and training for professionals, including teachers, to advance their skills in helping youth and their families in a school setting. A Basic Skills in Counseling for Teachers program provides 100 hours of training and helps teachers learn the skills to handle basic emotional and developmental issues in their students.

The Don Bosco Teacher Training Program in Remedial Education which began in May 2014, aims to empower teachers, school counselors and parents by giving them the information and the know-how to effectively help children with varying needs and disabilities in mainstream schools. For more advanced training, Prafulta offers a certificate course in educational counseling enabling practitioners to understand children’s difficulties in both educational and emotional areas.

“Teachers have more to deal with in their classrooms than educating students in math and science,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Many of the youth who attend Salesian schools come from challenging backgrounds that often require their education to come second. Prafulta Psychological Services helps teachers prepare for these challenges and helps youth and families cope by improving a student’s educational outcome and emotional well-being.”

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.



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