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INDIA: Widows benefit from livelihood support

Project teaches skills to earn income for their families


(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Anbu Illam in Salem and Bosco Gramin Vikas Kendra in Maharashtra, India, organized a project to support widows and teach them the skills to earn a new income for their families. The project selected five villages and families within those villages who had suffered the loss of a family member who was a primary wage earner working in the trucking industry.

The area is now a hub for the trucking industry. After the arrival of manufacturing facilities in the mid-1960s, a large labor force moved to the area. The trucking industry began with just 20 trucks and has now grown to close to 25,000, employing a workforce of 80% men. Due to accidents, many drivers have lost their lives, leaving their families to fend for themselves. These bereaved families suffer many hardships.

To support the families, Salesians launched the project to support the widows. Tailoring machines were distributed so women could be trained to sew, make and tailor clothing, and earn their own income. To date, 90 women have benefited from this project, which is supported by the Cummins India Foundation.

Both Don Bosco Anbu Illam and Bosco Gramin Vikas Kendra provide support and care for youth at-risk. The services include shelter, nutrition and education. Some of their programs extend beyond the youth to strengthen the entire family unit.

“This project is ensuring these widows and their families have a new source of income to help them in the face of loss,” said Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesians provided training in sought-after industries so people can make an easier transition from education to work. For many, starting their own small businesses is also an option.”

India has the world’s fourth largest economy but more than 22% of the country lives in poverty. About 31% of the world’s multidimensionally poor children live in India, according to a report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.

India’s youth face a lack of educational opportunities due to issues of caste, class and gender. Almost 44% of the workforce is illiterate and less than 10% 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.



Photo courtesy of Don Bosco South Asia

Don Bosco South Asia – Livelihood support for widows

Don Bosco Anbu Illam

Salesian Missions – India

World Bank – India

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