INDIA: Retreat-Don Bosco launches new livelihood training for those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic
(MissionNewswire) Retreat-Don Bosco in Yercaud, Tamil Nadu, India, has launched a new livelihood program, known as CALLS, for those who have lost their jobs and those without any means of survival because of the pandemic. Yercaud is a hill town, and with most of the tourism industry shut down, residents have seen poverty and hunger on the rise. This new program aims to train 40 people in greenhouse and plant nursery skills, garden care, and greenery maintenance.
The participants receive stipends of Rs 300 per day during the 14 days of training and work. For the first seven days, participants learn from professionals in the field and then later apply those skills in the gardens.
The program also helps foster part-time work and self-employment, as participants grow plants at home and sell to the nurseries. The Retreat Estate Organics Nursery run by Retreat-Don Bosco will also buy directly or help find other dealers. Each participant at the end of the 40 days of this part of the program will receive Rs 4,500 and a certificate that will help them gain employment in tourist resorts, private homes or nurseries to create gardens and lawns, as well as provide greenery maintenance.
In addition to the 40 participants, there are 10 college students who would like to grow plants and sell them to nurseries to pay for their school fees.
“This is an innovative program that is helping people in the local community have an alternative means of earning a living,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “In addition to providing nutrition and health support during the pandemic, Salesian missionaries are working to ensure people are able to work when they can or acquire new skills to go back to work when the lockdowns are lifted.”
The program is a joint initiative of Shevaroy Hills Tribal Development Institute of the Retreat-Don Bosco, Jugend Eine Welt of Austria and BoscoNet, New Delhi. It is coordinated by Salesian Father Selvakumar, the local project manager.
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.
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.
Missionaries will continue to assess needs for prevention and support during this challenging time and work to support youth and their families during the pandemic.
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Salesian Missions – India
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