INDIA: Students improve campus grounds
20 Salesian students set up a one-week work camp to improve grounds at Salesian College Sonada
(MissionNewswire) A group of 20 residential students from the Salesian College Sonada, located in Siliguri, India, set up a one-week work camp to clean the gardens, cut hedges, repair roofs, prepare the land for farming and help in the kitchen on campus.
The Salesian College was founded in 1938 and more than 95 percent of its student population comes from the hills of Darjeeling, a region known throughout the world for the quality of its tea leaves. In the Darjeeling District, there are currently 83 tea farms covering an area of about 19,000 hectares. These tea farms provide stable employment for more than 52,000 people.
The area faces challenges with people migrating from rural regions in search of a better life in more populous areas, which also puts people, especially girls, at risk of human trafficking. Compounding the problem are the low wages provided to those working in the tea industry. Many leave in search of better paying jobs.
Local organizations working to prevent trafficking estimate that more than 400 girls are trafficked every year from tea gardens, mostly from those gardens that have stopped functioning. To address some of these challenges, the Salesian College partnered with Rimpocha Tea in 2019 to provide vocational training for adolescent girls in the area who are at risk of exploitation and human trafficking.
In the 2018 academic year, the Salesian College began four new bachelor honor-level courses in mass communications, philosophy, geography and finance. The college previously offered eight general degree courses in English, education, history, political science, sociology, management studies, business administration and computer science.
“Students in the journalism and mass communications program have access to state-of-the -art audio editing labs as well as hands-on experience in the various aspects of radio production like scripting, editing, doing interviews, as well as anchoring the radio shows in the one and only college community radio in West Bengal and entire northeast India,” said Vice-Principal Father C.M. Paul.
Salesian programs across India are primarily focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education 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.
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.
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Salesian Missions – India
World Bank – India