THANE, NOVEMBER 29, 2010: The members of the Salesian family went for an outreach program to Bosco Samaj Vikas Sanstha at Jawahar, Thane district on Sunday November 28, 2010. Bosco Samaj Vikas Sanstha is a social development organization working across the Thane district of Maharashtra with tribal and rural communities. Seventy members of the Salesian family, Salesian fathers, Sisters, Cooperators, Past Pupils, ADMA and VDB from different centre of Mumbai left the city by two buses. One from Matunga and the other from Andheri and Borivili at 7.30am. After a long journey of four hours they reached the destination and were welcomed by Fr. Anaclete D’Mello and other staff members with a broad smile.
Fr. Elias Dias, Fr. Wilfred D’Souza and Fr. Lloyd Rodrigues celebrated Holy Eucharist. In his homily Fr. Elias Dias spoke about advent and how to prepare for the coming of Christ. He said; 1. By giving in- whatever differences we had in the past. 2. By giving up- our sins and our weaknesses. 3. By giving out- by sharing ourselves and our goods with others we will have a wonderful Christmas.
After the mass Mr. Melvin and Fr. Anaclete explained to the members their social works in the villages and how the programs are oriented towards the education and empowering poor people to become the agents of social change for the transformation of society.
After lunch the members played a short housie game and were then divided into groups who visited different villages. When they came back they had snacks. Sr. Phyllis Fernandes thanked Fr. Anaclete on his hospitality and all the arrangements. The members of the Family contributed their mite for the development of this tribal project. The Past pupil of Andheri unit adopted one village. All admired the challenging work done by the Salesians in this neglected belt of Adivasis in Maharashtra.
BORIVLI, NOVEMBER 23, 2010: During Mission Sunday in October 2010, Fr Isaac of Don Bosco Kapadvanj Mission, Gujarat showcased an interesting presentation of the works done by the Salesian priests and brothers at that mission. Fr Isaac concluded his presentation with an invitation to the congregation to come and witness their work. The Salesian Cooperators, Borivali Unit, took up this invitation and decided to visit Kapadvanj. On November 15, 2010 at 8.30 pm, thirteen Salesian Cooperators accompanied by their delegate, Fr Ronnie Menezes boarded the Lokshakti Express, to see firsthand the works done by our Salesian priests and brothers at the missions.
We met the eleven aspirants residing at the house, the three coordinators of the Self Help Groups (SHGs) and the other activities at the house of Kapadvanj.
After a brief talk by Mr. Shailesh, Fr Isaac took the Cooperators around two villages to witness the rural life and the work being done by the SHGs. We first visited Dholivav Village. There are two SHGs operating in this village and they are presently engaged in building a kachha road under NREGA Scheme. We next visited Motipura village, where there are five SHGs comprising of seventy five members. These villagers are engaged in agriculture, animal husbandry and plants nursery. The villagers greeted us warmly and said a beautiful prayer in their dialect. The Cooperators interacted with the villagers and bonded with them by dancing the garba.
On the second day our first stop was at the Church of Khambholaj where there is a statue of ‘Our Lady of the Forsaken (Anathoni Mata)’ which has come all the way from Spain. The next stop was at ‘Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour’ (Nityasahayani Mata) in Jitodia. The priest there gave us a brief talk about the church, which is built along the lines of the Shrine of Mount Mary, Bandra. We then moved on to see the Shrine of Divine Mercy at Salon.
We were also fortunate to meet the FMA sisters at Pansora and at Pushpanjali. After a sumptuous dinner with the Salesians at Dakor we began our return journey home.
MUMBAI, NOVEMBER 22, 2010: Seven co-operators of Mumbai Province made a visit to the jungles of Jambughoda [Don Bosco Narukot] from November 17 to November 19, 2010. Fr Stanny Ferreira, Rector of Don Bosco Narukot welcomed us. The purpose of the trip was to animate the co-operators group and see the wonderful work our Salesians are doing there. On the first day we met ten co-operators of Narukot unit and had a long session with them explaining to them in a nut shell the Project of Apostolic Life and the method of conducting the meetings. The next day we met the co-operators again where we shared our experiences discussing in depth of Don Bosco's vision of his great mission of uplifting the youth in all strata of life and the mission statement drawn at the Third South Asia Regional Congress 'RETURN TO DON BOSCO RETURN TO THE YOUNG'.
The Coordinator and the committee members were so enthused with Charism and motivation of Don Bosco that they wanted to show us the work they carry on in different villages. The first visit was to Gandhra village in the mountains of Jambughoda. There we saw the water shed project carried on by the Salesian Fathers and the green fields. It was like another Scotland. Then we proceeded to Garumal and Chalwad villages where we visited the houses of the villagers and students/boarders studying in Don Bosco School.
At 11am we visited the Maharaja and Maharani's Palace and had a historical background of it. Father Stanny told us that Don Bosco’s Technical Institution teaches Hotel Management and Hospitality so that many tribal youth could be trained and get better living in Narukot where family could live together and thus instilling family values. In the evening we visited Zallaria and Kesarpura villages where one community centre is opened to conduct different activities like teaching cathecism, Mahila mandal, youth centre, and adult education. Here the co-operators distributed sweets and clothes to the children and adults. We also enjoyed the adivasi food.
On the third day morning after the Eucharist we visited the farm and the families of the co-operators, in the evening on our way back home we visited Snehalya Shelter Don Bosco. Here we interacted with the boys. They were very happy to meet us and talk to us. They had so much to say and we had so much to hear but the time was not enough. We are very much inspired by the work of our Salesian family members in Narukot. We could not imagine how people live there in poverty and misery but the love and spontaneous hospitality has shaken us. The cooperators thanked the Mumbai cooperators for visiting them and encouraged them to be the long hands and feet of Don Bosco.