INDIA: New Salesian Migrant Help Desk Joins 7 Others Across India Helping Migrant Workers Connect to Vital Services
(MissionNewswire) Salesian programs across India have set up migrant help desks to address the needs of migrant workers in local communities. These help desks have been set up in Dimapur, Guwahati, Panjim, Tiruppur, Vijayawada and Chennai. Salesian missionaries at Don Bosco Veedu Society in Trivandrum just launched a new migrant program, “Shramik Kalyan Kendr” (SKK), for young migrant workers living in Trivandrum.
East Fort Junction in Trivandrum is a hot spot for young migrant workers. Large numbers of migrant workers come there as early as 5:30 a.m. to wait for potential employers who might offer them work. They bargain for their day’s pay if they can access work at all. The new SKK initiative reaches out to this large migrant population and provides services to them directly.
Before the program was initially launched, Salesian missionaries spoke to migrants and assessed what services they need and then modeled the program to meet those needs. Don Bosco Veedu now provides access to medical care, secure employment, assistance to address grievances and language classes.
“With so many young people out of work and facing conditions of poverty, it is vital for Salesian programs to respond to these migrant workers in need,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Because Salesian missionaries are living in the communities they serve, they are perfectly positioned to help young migrants connect to resources and provide services that address their challenges. These migrant help desks across India provide medical access and workforce development services, so youth can connect to long-term stable employment.”
Salesian missionaries through the Don Bosco Veedu Society help youth and children at risk including those living on the street, child laborers, child beggars and those who are unaccompanied or lost. The program also helps those in conflict with the law, runaways and those who have abusive backgrounds. The organization has four main centers where missionaries provide services including shelter, counseling services, skills training, vocational programs and rehabilitation programs for street youth.
Youth in India, especially those living in poverty, are faced with child abuse, neglect, exploitation and forced child labor at an alarming rate, according to UNICEF. India has the largest number of child laborers under the age of 14 in the world, and many are forced into dangerous occupations and live on the streets. In 2010, India passed a landmark law mandating that all children between the ages of 6 and 14 be in school, but according to UNICEF, millions of children remain in the workforce. Full implementation of the law was to go into effect in 2013, but child workers can still be found in almost every industry in India. The problem is enforcing the law, particularly in high poverty regions of the country.
With more than 400 million poor people, or one-third of the world’s poor, according to UNICEF, ensuring youth have access to education in order for them to find stable employment at the appropriate age and break the cycle of poverty is a priority in the country. Although more than 53 million people escaped poverty between 2005 and 2010, most remain vulnerable to falling back below the poverty line.
Salesian Missions – India
UNICEF – India