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INDIA: Program held at Don Bosco Seva Kendra teaches girls self-defense and empowered self-confidence


(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Seva Kendra, in Hyderabad, India, recently hosted a program for girls facilitated by the Kiran Anjali Project, which has a mission to provide guidance and financial support to institutions providing education to disadvantaged children, especially girls, in India. The Kiran Anjali Project partners with small, grassroots nonprofits.

The program at Don Bosco Seva Kendra brought together girls and their parents, along with Salesian staff and Father Bellamkonda Sudhakar, executive director of the Don Bosco organization.

At the program, Fr. Sudhakar made a presentation on “The Four Candles,” which focuses on peace, faith, hope and love. He explained to the girls the importance of never giving up hope. After that, there was a presentation on effective communication.

Later, the girls played games and drew pictures. They also participated in English and IQ tests. Salesian staff took the time to interview each of the girls about their experiences with Don Bosco Seva Kendra, what they have been learning and its impact. Lunch provided a time for girls and their parents to interact informally with each other and the Salesian staff.

The afternoon session included a self-defense class taught by Sonia, a 16-year old girl with the Kiran Anjali Project. The girls were able to learn and demonstrate some simple techniques in self-defense and learn useful tips in self-protection. Girls were motivated to meet Sonia, who had shared a lot of important information and encouraged them.

Games were also played to help the girls be more open and friendly, empowering their self-confidence. Each of the girls received a gift of a smiley ball and chocolates. The day ended with cake to celebrate the girls who had birthdays in October. All of the girls promised to stay in touch with each other.

“Programs like this are important to teach girls self-confidence and give them an opportunity to interact with their peers,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian missionaries in India and around the globe empower young girls and women through education and by ensuring that they have equal access to schools and skills training for later employment.”

Salesian programs across India are primarily focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education in the country helps youth prepare for later technical, vocational or university study. Other programs help to support poor youth and their families by meeting the basic needs of shelter, proper nutrition and medical care.

Access to professional training and workforce development services is highly valued by youth in India. The country, which is home to 1.34 billion people (18 percent of the world’s population), will have overtaken China as the world’s most populous country by 2024, according to the World Economic Forum. While India has the world’s largest youth population, it has yet to capitalize on this, leaving some 30 percent of this population without employment, education or training.

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 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.



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