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INDIA: Salesian programs are hard at work making masks to help support global pandemic efforts


(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in India and around the globe are working in their centers and communities to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The Don Bosco Center for Human Resources Development in Gagillapur, within the Salesian Province of Hyderabad, took immediate action by producing more than 1,000 masks. The masks were made by the Gagillapur tailoring unit and were distributed free of charge to the poor in the local area and within state of Telugu, in particular where there are Salesian programs.

The initiative was launched as part of the emergency response by Bosco Seva Kendra, the Salesian provincial planning and development office. Bosco Seva Kendra has also created information posters to raise awareness on preventing the spread of coronavirus and launched a new fundraising initiative to help orphans and migrant workers during this challenging time.

The funding will help support creating 1,000 hygiene and health safety kits, which will include soap, liquid hand wash, face masks, sanitary products for girls, milk biscuits for kids, pamphlets and cloth bags. Funding will also support 500 kits with food like biscuits and rice and hygiene items like soap and hand sanitizer for migrant workers, who have been particularly hard hit during this time because they are out of work and cannot travel back to their homes. Donations will also support food, including breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as evening snacks, and health care and hygiene items for orphans for 60 days.

Salesians in Bangalore, in the Indian state of Kerala, are also making masks and engaging in activities to address the needs of the poor during this health crisis. Fishermen’s wives are making masks for health workers at the Holy Cross hospital in Bangalore and for railway staff. Salesian missionaries have provided the fabric and material to be used for the production and an economic contribution for the work the women do. The masks are then provided for free to the health workers and railway staff.

In other efforts in Bangalore, more than 5,000 masks have been distributed at subsidized rates through help of sponsors. An order for 10,000 masks has been received in Kollam from hospitals. Women from Salesian self-help groups have been engaged in the production of the masks. Further, a project in Chennai is demonstrating how ad-hoc masks can be stitched with regular clothes and rubber bands. Projects like this are taking place in many Salesian centers across India.

“Salesian centers around the globe are working in their local communities to address coronavirus pandemic that is affecting us all,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian missionaries live in the communities where they work and are perfectly positioned to respond in times of crisis. They are working within their programs to keep youth and staff safe and healthy and providing help to their communities when possible.”

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 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.



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