Friday, December 17, 2010


Lavy A. D’Costa
KURLA, DECEMBER 17, 2010: A request from Fr. Ferrington sdb, delegate for Sudan and support from Fr. Savio Silveira sdb, CEO DBDOM spurred Don Bosco Centre for Learning, Kurla in Mumbai to depute a five-member technical team comprising Fr. Colbert da Silva, Mr. G. A. Soman (Marine), Mr. Greg Miranda (Electronics), Mr. Richard Saldanha (Auto Maintenance) and Mr. Sanjiv Rana (Welding) to Sudan in the third week of October 2010. The trip to Sudan was indeed a first for the team and an extremely enriching experience.

Sudan officially called the Republic of Sudan is a country in northeastern Africa. It is the largest country in the Afro-Arab world and tenth largest in the world by area. The world's longest river, the Nile, divides the country between the eastern and western sides.

Blessed with a rich terrain Sudan has immense potential for a dramatic growth. The Mumbai team visited three Salesian run Vocational Training Centres (VTCs) - two in the North, one in the South. These institutes are in the forefront of equipping the youth with technical skills and expertise.

The warmth and hospitality of the Salesians, staff and students including the religious sisters was remarkable. They were ready to share whatever little they had.

The mission of the five-member team was to train the trainers, assess the facilities currently available at the Vocational Training Centres (VTCs) managed by the Salesians and recommend measures that could lead to better trained and skilled manpower alongside optimizing the use of their resources. The equipment and machinery in the VTCs of Khartoum, El Obeid and Wau could easily be the envy of many a technical institution the world over.

Enhanced external support to the Salesians who work under difficult conditions could script further success for the VTCs. The institutions have the inherent capacity to excel and unleash a powerful work force for the development of the country.

In recent times most youngsters are plagued with uncertainties about their future due to the referendum scheduled for January 2011 to decide the partition of Sudan into two countries. The team observed that despite this uncertainty the students graduating from the Salesian VTCs are grateful for the opportunities given to them. Coupled with opportunities and hard work the students can easily craft a successful career. Mr. G. A. Soman aptly commented that all the Salesian institutes they visited in Sudan were capable of scaling greater heights.

Confident that a bright future lies ahead for the youth of Sudan, which is blessed with enormous natural resources, the Salesians in Sudan despite the many challenges continue to carry out the work of Don Bosco with joy, optimism, dedication and commitment, a spirit that made an indelible impact on the team from Mumbai.

Back from Sudan, Fr. Colbert was excited to have experienced firsthand the networking of Salesians across borders. He opined that such ventures are a powerful and effective tool to help us Salesians appreciate the magnanimity and vastness of Don Bosco’s Mission for the young.

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