INTERNATIONAL VOLUNTEER DAY: Salesians Highlight Salesian Lay Missioners
(MissionNewswire) Each year, on Dec. 5th, International Volunteer Day is celebrated throughout the world. This day was founded to honor and recognize volunteers and volunteer organizations that have committed to making the world a better place by donating their time and talents. This year’s focus is the impact of volunteering on peace and sustainable development initiatives.
“Founded on the values of solidarity and mutual trust, volunteerism transcends all cultural, linguistic and geographic boundaries,” said Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General in a statement about the day. “By giving their time and skills without expectation of material reward, volunteers themselves are uplifted by a singular sense of purpose.”
Through the years, International Volunteer Day has been used to focus on volunteer contributions to achieving Millennium Development Goals – a set of time-bound targets to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women.
In honor of International Volunteer Day, the Salesians highlight the important work accomplished by their Salesian Lay Missioners who are providing hope and a path out of poverty for youth around the globe.
Salesian lay missioners go above and beyond the typical volunteer assignment. They volunteer their time, but also give up the comforts of home to live and work among the impoverished, often sacrificing years of their lives.
“We live with the people and are part of the communities we serve,” says Adam Rudin, director of the Salesian Lay Missioner program. “We are with them day and night, sharing meals and stories. As they learn from us, we, in turn, learn from them.” He adds that all volunteers have conversational knowledge of the language spoken in the community. “A sense of humor and a spirit of sacrifice are also essential,” he adds.
On, the Salesians call attention to programs where their lay missioners have made a difference in the lives of youth.
Hogar María Auxiliadora is home to 45 girls between the ages of five and 18 years who have been orphaned, abandoned, or abused. Salesian Lay Missioners have been working there since 2006. Located in Itocta, the home is set in a rural community a half hour outside of the city of Cochabamba. Girls in the program have access to a safe, nurturing environment where they receive tutoring and education and are encouraged to develop their personal gifts and talents in art, dance, music and athletics.
Don Bosco Vocational Training Center for Girls is located in Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. The Salesian Sisters began the school in 1993 in order to reach out to the most impoverished of the villages, as well as the city, to create successful jobs in secretarial and computer areas. Courses offered are computer, accounting, general office procedures, English, personal development and several others depending on teachers available. Salesian Lay Missioners normally teach English as well as offer up time to help in any way possible.
The Salesians have been a presence at Don Bosco Soddo Catholic School since September 2009. Students at this school and youth center enjoy participating in a variety of clubs, including media, sports, life skills, history and school safety. Choirs and dance groups have been organized by volunteers. Students from other schools in grades seven through 10 are offered free tutorial classes after school to help them prepare for the national exams. About 150 youth are in the primary school and another 200 participate in the youth center.
Located in the Assam region of India, the Ferrando Rehabilitation Centre was recently established to assist youth who have a disability such as deafness or loss of a limb. The Salesian sisters work with the youth to help them reintegrate into society and lead a dignified life. Salesian Lay Missioners help in a variety of ways, teaching computer skills, dance, physical therapy and English to the students.
Salesian Lay Missioners – Website