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INDIA: Salesian missionaries aim to build a school in Jamtoli to provide education and literacy classes


(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries have been working with children in need in Jamtoli, located within the Indian state of Jharkhand, since 2012. The Salesian center, which is still small and under development, is dedicated to the education of children and older youth and the literacy of adults. Jamtoli is a tribal area lacking in social, educational, health and infrastructure opportunities. Here, every year, thousands of children aged 9-14 stop studying to work in the mines.

The people living in the Jamtoli area are extremely poor, and mostly illiterate or semi-illiterate. They survive by practicing subsistence farming and animal breeding using rudimentary methods. Youth have very few opportunities to find stable employment and break the cycle of poverty common in the region.

Salesian missionaries bought 12 acres of land and have established some temporary housing for the Salesians on site and space for education. The goal is to build a formal school building with four classrooms, where children and others in the local community can access education. The space would also be used for community gatherings and offer a play area for children.

More than 900 children, belonging to various tribal ethnic groups, would be positively impacted by this project along with 300 older youth and adults who could use the same space for literacy courses. The Salesian school’s long-term plan is to reach almost 1,600 children 5-14 years old.

One Salesian missionary in Jamtoli said, “If we can offer a good foundation to a child while he is still small, then we can open the path to future prosperity.”

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 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.



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