by Mrs. Jacinta D'Souza
PUNE-MAHARASHTRA, MARCH 5, 2015: The Salesian Cooperators of the Mumbai Province set out on an "outreach programME" to the Salesian houses of Chakan and Chinchwad on February 22, 2015. There were 35 members from the Bandra, Matunga, Kurla, Virar, Wadala(E), Wadala (W) Nerul, and Koperkhairne units.
The enthusiastic group of Cooperators, started off from Matunga a 7:15 a.m. for our Salesian house of Chakan. We were fortunate to have with us Fr. Charles, who is in charge at Rasquinha Don Bosco Techical Centre, Chakan, who had come down for a course for young priests that concluded the previous day. He guided us safely to the house. Fr. Joe Soares and Br. Edward welcomed us with a hot cup of tea and biscuits.
We had the celebration of the Eucharist. This was followed by a short history of the place and a tour round the set-up and the future plans for the skills development of school dropouts. There are at present 35 boys, from several states, and different religions, engaged in the skills set up there. We were indeed impressed with the work carried out there and the few boarders we met. We made a contribution in cash and kind to the Institute and promised Fr. Charles that we would try and send needy youngsters to avail of the facilities offered here.
Late though we were, the bus moved on to Don Bosco, Chinchwad, guided this time by Fr. Joe Soares. Fr. Corlis, warm as ever, welcomed us together with Fr. Valerian and Br. Rudolph with a welcome drink. After a few words of welcome and thanks, we then were treated to a sumptuous lunch. Fr. Corlis and Br. Rudolph then took us through a guided tour of the workshops and we were amazed to see the standard of the machinery and training programmes available to the school dropouts and others from all over the country.
Residential facilities are provided here and we were fortunate to meet some of the boys who stayed back for the Sunday. With a sense of joy and pride we learnt that Don Bosco, Chinchwad was tying up with three major companies for the training and absorption of the 200 boys that avail of the facilities here every six months. The boys pay whatever they can and the benefactors of the Institution pay for their stay and education.
We have come back from this experience, feeling proud of our Salesian Fathers and the wonderful work they do among the under-privileged, to set them on their feet with skills and confidence to face the world. "Thanks to Fr. Corlis and his team at Chinchwad and at Chakan for a day well spent and for opening our eyes to the work carried out by the Salesians of Don Bosco."