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INDIA: Salesian missionaries offer elementary and middle school education to underprivileged tribal youth

(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries operate the Don Bosco School in the town of Azimganj, in the district of Murshidabad, India. The school, which caters to 1,300 youth from local tribal families, offers elementary and middle school classes. Most of the students attending the school come from impoverished circumstances.

Salesian missionaries report that most were born to undernourished mothers and as a result, were undernourished babies, causing many of the cognitive delays these youth exhibit. They live in huts without electricity or toilets. Parents are not able to pay the tuition fees that amount to only 1 euro a month.

For many students at the Don Bosco school, they are the first generation in their families to attend school. This can be a challenge since not all local families support their children going to school. Parents are often not able to help their children with their homework, and many would rather see their children working to help support the family. Many parents do not understand how important education is in helping to break the cycle of poverty in which they find themselves.

While students receive a quality education at the Don Bosco School it is reflective of its poor environment. There is no chalkboard so the walls have been painted black and teachers write on them with chalk. Students follow along with lessons while sitting on the floor because there are no desks. The school urgently needs items to help provide a better learning environment for students. Currently, the school is seeking donors to help support the purchase of chairs and desks, blackboards, bookshelves and books and audiovisual equipment, all of which will better stimulate learning and foster student curiosity.

“These youth are already attending school under challenging circumstances so ensuring they have a proper school environment is important,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Desks and chairs help to provide a more dignified and organized educational environment for students to complete their studies. As a result, students are often more focused on classroom work and more prepared for their lessons.”

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.

India’s youth also face a lack of educational opportunities due to issues of caste, class and gender. Almost 44 percent of the workforce is illiterate and less than 10 percent of the working-age population has completed a secondary education. In addition, many secondary school graduates do not have the knowledge and skills to compete in today’s changing job market.



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ANS – India – A school for children of tribal and marginalized people to break the cycle of poverty

World Bank – India

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