INDIA: Retreat-Don Bosco provides training in nursery and nature preservation for 40 participants
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries with Retreat-Don Bosco in Yercaud, India, recently held a 21-day training course in nursery and nature preservation for 40 people. Because Yercaud is a hill town, most people earn their living through tourism. Given the lockdown, residents have seen poverty and hunger on the rise.
The “CALLS” program provided training in greenhouse and plant nursery skills, garden care, and greenery maintenance. Among the participants were 10 college students who wanted to earn money to pay their college fees, as well as learn a skill for the future. It provides them a chance to work and earn a living on weekends and during holidays.
Participants were paid a daily wage during the training, which will now enable them to gain employment in tourist resorts, private homes or nurseries to create gardens and lawns, as well as provide greenery maintenance. Many participants shared that the training was very empowering and has equipped them with a skill to earn a living. A few local businesses have already expressed interest in hiring some of the participants.
“This innovative program helped 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.
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Salesian Missions – India
World Bank – India