Wednesday, March 29, 2017


by BIS Correspondent


KAPADVANJ, MAR 23, 2017: International Womens' Day was celebrated at Don Bosco Kapadvanj on March 23. The theme was 'Swasth Naari, Swasth Samaj', meaning 'Healthy Woman, Healthy Society.' Over 1250 women belonging to 130 Self Help Groups (SHGs), from 65 villages of the Kapadvanj block of Kheda district in Gujarat, participated in the event.  


Doctor Antima Patel, M S – gynecology, examined over 80 women as part of the 'Health Check Up' programme. A poster exhibition depicting 'Healthy Woman, Healthy Society' around the campus made a significant impact on the participants. 


Doctor A S Shanghavi, health officer – Kheda district was the chief guest on the occasion. Expressing happiness at the organisation of the event, he said, "I congratulate the institution for its tireless service for the uplift of women in the villages." He also highlighted various schemes for women which would be beneficial in further improvement of their lives. 

A well conceptualised cultural programme in the form of mono acts, skits and dances, by the women of the SHGs, voiced the concerns, anxieties and worries that rural women face. 


Sanjay Parmar, field coordinator of DRISTI Don Bosco was felicitated for his dedicated service. Bidding farewell to the institution, he said, "Today what I am is because of the institute, and I will be forever indebted for it has helped me to grow to be a better person."


Father Mayank Parmar, director of DRISTI Don Bosco highlighted the importance of working for the betterment of the society as Don Bosco and his Mamma Margaret did in their times.  A few participants said, "This annual feature, celebrating women is a great opportunity for us rural women to come together, celebrate our lives and bond with one another."

Monday, March 27, 2017


by Father Rolvin D'Mello


PUNE, MAR 27, 2017: The Don Bosco Development Society (DBDS), Chinchwad in joint collaboration with AXA Business Services organised a one-day free Health Camp at Ambedkar Nagar slum, as a part of the ongoing women empowerment project. 


Nearly 80 women and children were screened by a specialised team of doctors and paramedical staff. The aim of these camps is not just to provide health services but also to create awareness and sensitisation among the people in the slums towards health issues. 


Doctor Amruta Bkashi and Doctor Vijyalaxmi Sawant and a team of para-medics examined the beneficiaries and free medicines were distributed to patients. The health problems identified were eye infections, rheumatic arthritis, anemia, cough, cold, migraine, worms among others. DBDS- Chinchwad has been conducting health camps in slums every month. 

Nine volunteers from AXA also participated in the health camp. The volunteers were extremely helpful with the registration of people, arranging facilities, putting up banners, visiting slums and creating awareness about the health camp and managing the crowd. Few patients were also referred to Lokmanya Hospital for further treatment.

Lalita Choudhary, project coordinator shared the progress of health activities, "This AXA funded project which focuses on education, health and income generation is now well accepted by people in the slum communities and we hope to get better and better community participation in future," she said. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


by Wilfred Vaz


KUWAIT, MAR 21, 2017: "Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world," said Pope Pius IX. The parishioners of St. Therese of the child Jesus set to pray the rosary as a response to the invitation of the Bishop of the North Arabian Vicariate, Camillo Ballin. 


In the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia (AVONA), the year 2017 has been dedicated the Mother Mary, being the centenary of her apparition at Fatima. 

Bishop Ballin suggested that the Holy Rosary be recited together by all the families residing in a building, at each respective home, with the statue or picture of Our Lady of Fatima. Lionel Pereira, a parish council member said, "In the past, consecration of nations and parishes to Mary, brought special graces on them. I am certain that the consecration of our vicariate to Our Lady will bring us closer to her in devotion and bring peace and stability to the region of Gulf." 


To inaugurate the event of Our Lady of Fatima visiting every home in the parish of the Church of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, a recitation of the Luminous mysteries of the Holy Rosary was organised by the Small Christian Communities (SCC) group on March 18. 


The parish council members and also the coordinators of the groups who do not have representation in the parish council participated in the Rosary along with the entire parish.  The parish priest gave a brief introduction to the congregation about the programme. Father Francisco Pereira conceptualised and animated the recitation of the Rosary.  

The prayer and intentions for each respective mystery were said by Elizabeth D'Souza. The first part of the Our Father and the Hail Mary were recited in five different languages, while the latter part of the Our Father and the Holy Mary were recited in english by the congregation. The different languages represented were Filipino, Malayalam, Konkani, Singhala and Tamil. Annette Pereira, the secretary of the parish pastoral council said, "When we gathered and prayed the rosary, each leading in their own language and all responding in English, I felt privileged, blessed and anointed to be part of the prayerful gathering."

As the recitation of each mystery began, a designated parish council member placed a lighted candle at the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, symbolising the dedication of the parish and the respective groups to Mother Mary. 


At the conclusion of the recitation of the five Luminous mysteries, framed pictures of Our Lady of Fatima were given by Father Blany Pinto and Father Ben Barrameda to Anand Sequeira, coordinator – SCC group, to the parish council members and to the other representatives. It was a gesture to commence the recitation of the Holy Rosary in the members' respective groups and buildings.


Christopher Rosario, a council member said, "My wife and I attended the rosary. Both of us felt serene, peaceful and reassured of the presence of Mother Mary amongst us." The event concluded with all the parish council members and representatives, along with the priests, going in procession from the church to the courtyard.

Friday, March 17, 2017


by BIS Correspondent


NAGPUR, MAR 17, 2017: Fifty five women from five zones of Our Lady of Fatima Church, Nagpur participated in a special Women's Day celebration, marking the importance of women, on March 12.     


The chief guests for the gathering were Praful Gudhade - Nagpur  Municipal Corporation (NMC) corporator, Asha Bankar -  NMC corporator and K O Orion, a social worker. 


Rector, Father Manuel Murzello welcomed the dignitaries before they lit a customary lamp and recited a prayer. The dignitaries stressed on the importance of women and the girl-child in society. 


Father Richard D'Silva, the administrator of the institute, then organised some games to keep those present entertained. The event ended with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


by BIS Correspondent


BARODA, MAR 15, 2017: Over 450 women hailing from various slums in Baroda came together to celebrate International Women's Day at Roshni Don Bosco, Baroda on March 8.


The participants belonged to 40 Self Help Groups (SHGs) actively working in Baroda. Father Rolvin D'Mello, executive director-Don Bosco Development Society, was the chief guest for the programme, the guests of honour were Patankar, collaborator - Roshni and Shashi Singh, chief manager- Allahabad Bank.


The programme began with the lighting of the lamp and was followed by cultural programmes on the theme 'unity in diversity'. Women then presented the traditional dances of various states dressed in colourful attire, dancing to folk tunes.


Addressing the gathering, Father D'Mello stressed the need to build equality among sons and daughters in the family. "The perception of society must change towards the girl child," he said. 


This was followed by a short documentary on 'oppression of women' highlighting how women were denied their rights for centuries. The programme ended with a Gujarati dance. 


by  Supriya Joshi

MUMBAI, MAR 15, 2017: Planning is a stepping stone to effective decision making. An effective plan in turn leads to well thought out decisions that in turn leads to realising one's goals. Keeping this in mind, Don Bosco Balprafulta organised a seminar on planning entitled 'Session Plan: Why and How' for the staff of Young at Risk (YaR) houses on March 11.

Supriya Joshi, the coordinator of Don Bosco Balprafulta, Matunga, was the resource person for the event. She began with a simple team-building exercise that focused on leadership and followership. The activity was aimed at helping people rethink about the day-to-day activities in the organisation.

She stressed on the difference between a 'need' and a 'want' and emphasised on finding a need before a plan is executed for a major event or session. The importance of session planning, the factors that play a role in planning a session was also discussed.

There was also a fun activity included in the discussion that helped understand the difficulty in writing a set of instructions in a session plan and a worksheet on its outcome. Those gathered were then asked to draw up their own session plans, which would be reviewed as a follow-up activity.


by BIS Correspondent

MUMBAI, MAR 15, 2017: The members of the Association of Mary Help of Christians (ADMA) went on their Annual Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Velankanni at Irla, Mumbai on March 4.

It was a prayerful experience that began with Holy Mass celebrated by Father Wilfred D'Souza, the spiritual director. He presented to the pilgrims the Lenten message of Pope Francis. After a short break for breakfast, a period of personal prayer followed.

The steady stream of pilgrims visiting the Shrine all morning, with devotion and faith, offering their homage in silence to Mother Mary provided the perfect ambience for recollection. Later the group listened to a short talk given by the President, John Mathias. Post lunch, the group prayed the Rosary and other Marian prayers.  

The members conducted their monthly meeting, as they do every first Saturday of the month and left with a resolve to spend the holy season of Lent in a truly spiritual manner. 


by Annie Cardoz and Janifer Fernandes

MUMBAI, MAR 15, 2017: The Young at Risk (YaR) coordinators meeting was held on March 10 from 10.30 to 12.30 pm, with almost 10 YaR coordinators from different parts of the Mumbai province in attendance at Tej Prasarini hall, Matunga with the theme, 'We connect, We share'.

Father Gregory D'Almeida, the YaR commission coordinator of Mumbai province, welcomed the coordinators and introduced the YaR Balprafulta program officer, Janifer Fernandes.  He stated why YaR was initiated in the province and the need for better collaboration and coordination among the different YaR centres. 

All the coordinators shared their project works, activities, concerns and experiences in their respective centres. It gave an insight into the different YaR connected works conducted at their centres. Father Stephen Rodrigues, the ex-vice provincial of the Mumbai region shared light on the issues of the young at risk.

Fernandes then demonstrated the YaR works of Don Bosco National YaR Forum, Delhi and the services offered by the YaR office at Matunga and the future plans of the centre. She also gave a brief description of the works accomplished in the five months since its commencement in October 2016.

Annie Cardoz, project officer of Umeed project, prison ministry, conducted an interactive session on the use of social media for YaR to strengthen the connection between the coordinators and to reach out to a wider audience. 

Furthermore, Father D'Almeida also introduced the upcoming national level events, seminars, meetings, workshops and gave details of the national plan for the year 2017. It was also decided that a meeting should be held once in three months with the Mumbai YaR coordinators to discuss the YaR works in their corresponding centres and create plan of action. It was agreed that a Whatsapp group and Facebook group would boost inter- coordinator networking. 

Friday, March 10, 2017


BIS Correspondent

Matunga, Mumbai, March 9, 2017: The Green Schools Campaign 2016-2017 promoted by GreenLine came to a close with the Awards Ceremony on March 9, 2017 held in the auditorium of Don Bosco International School, Matunga. The renowned water conservationist Mr. Abid Surti, of Drop Dead Foundation fame,was the Chief Guest for the occasion, while the Guest of Honour was Father Edwin D’Souza, Chairperson of the Maschio Foundation. The Greenest School Award went to Auxilium Convent High School, Lonavla.

A total of 50 schools from across Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Lonavla had participated in this seventh edition of the Campaign which focused on the issue of water. The major topics dealt with through the year were Water Footprint, Local Waterbodies and Water Exploitation.

The day began with a set of workshops on short film making, green news reporting, growing micro-greens, street theatre and a tree walk, conducted by experts in these fields. The students could attend any workshop of their choice. The Awards Ceremony then got underway with Father Savio Silveira, GreenLine Director, welcoming the gathering and introducing the dignitaries. Macson Almeida from the GreenLine team then presented an overview of this edition of theCampaign. He described the various sessions held in the schools, the different activities carried out by the students, and the other events organized during the past year.

Mr. Abid Surti, addressing the students said “There was a time when I was concerned about the condition of the river Ganges and other global water issues.  But I realized there was little I could do about that. So, I decided to begin by saving water in my own home and my neighbourhood.” He invited the students to do whatever was in their capacity to make a difference to environmental issues that they encountered daily. Father D’Souza commending the enthusiasm of the participating schools, encouraged them to “become a force that contributes to the greening of our world”.

The highpoint of the programme was the announcement and giving away of the awards. The Greenest School Award went to Auxilium Convent High School, Lonavla. Sacred Heart High School, Vashi won the First Runner-up Award while Don Bosco High School, Borivali won the Second Runner-up Award. Awards were also given to the ‘Greenest Student’ from each of the participating schools.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


By BIS Correspondent


MUMBAI, MAR 7, 2017: Over 1400 women from different slum pockets of Mumbai came together to celebrate International Women's day at a programme organised by Don Bosco Development Society (DBDS) on March 5, at the Don Bosco School campus, Matunga. 


All the women who participated are the beneficiaries of DBDS in the slums of Mumbai. Present at the inaugural session was Arundhati Gawde - retired professor and social activist - as chief guest and Mangala Naik - planning department - as the guest of honour .


Father Rolvin D'Mello, executive director, DBDS welcomed the dignitaries and all the women participants. He invited the gathering to remember women who are victims of different forms violence. 


After a short prayer, Gawde spoke about the importance of Women's Day and the need for women to be leaders in the community. She shared her vast knowledge and experience to inspire women to be agents of change, to empower themselves and others in their neighbourhood. 


Naik spoke about the government programmes and policies and how women can benefit from government schemes. She also stressed on the need for women to come forward to claim their entitlements under various schemes.


Father D'Mello briefed all about the works of DBDS and how empowerment is trickling down to the last woman in the slums. He expressed his confidence that in the next few years the women in the audience would get sufficiently empowered to be the chief guests for future Women's Day Celebrations.   

Simultaneously nearly 500 women benefited from a free medical camp which was held in collaboration with Lilavati hospital. The camp began at 8.30 am, in which a team of specialised doctors along with paramedical staff screened the women for various ailments. There were a variety of specialties available and all women got a chance to avail of them, along with free medicines for a month. 


The women were treated to lunch, post which a Vocational Skill Certification ceremony was held for the students who underwent vocational training in beauty culture, mehendi, computers and english speaking.

Balasaheb Kakad, senior inspector, Matunga police station and Father Savio D'Souza, rector of Saint Dominic Savio Church, Antop Hill were guests of honour for the afternoon session.  Nearly 400 students were felicitated at the ceremony. This was followed by a cultural programme with dances and street plays on women's issues.


by BIS Correspondent


DAKOR, MAR 7, 2017: Amrutdhara, the Don Bosco Gujarat region Education to the Faith centre organised a dawn- dusk Value Education Day on March 3 at Don Bosco Dakor.


A total of six schools with 450 children studying in class nine participated in the programme. "From noble work to sainthood, it was a culmination of the year- long value education workshop and sessions organised by  our centre," Father Vasava, director of Amrutdhara said. 

The students from each school presented their short films, song and a cultural programme on the theme. Charismatic preacher and famed inspirational motivator, Father Vikram Mahida delivered the key- note address. "To be a saint you need to listen to God and to do His will," Father Mahida said. 


Father Lorenzo D'souza, principal of Don Bosco Dakor was the chief guest for the programme. "All the students from various schools coming together was a great and enriching experience," a participant said. Value based education can help the child to be honest and good citizen.


by BIS Correspondent


PUNE, MAR 7, 2017: In a commitment to bring quality health care and health awareness to all, Don Bosco organised a free eye check-up camp on February 26 and a free general health camp on February 28, as part of the Women Empowerment Project supported by Manos Unidas, Spain. 


Around 150 adults and children from Laxminagar Slum were screened for various eye ailments by the doctors. The eye camp was organised by Don Bosco in association with H V Desai Hospital in Pune. A specialised team of doctors and paramedics screened the patients for vision disorders such as cataract including short sight, long sight among others. 

People with eye infections were given eye drops, those with vision problems were given spectacles at a highly subsidised rate of Rupees 60 only. Eight patients were identified with cataract and were immediately referred to the hospital for surgery. Doctors  also took a session on 'how to care for eyes' and 'eye donation'.   


The free general health camp on February 28 was held at Dr Rajendra Prasad Model School located in the Bopodi slum. Over 280 men, women and children benefited from the camp. A team of specialist doctors and nurses in gynecology, pediatrics, ENT and internal medicine screened the people attending the camp. In addition to this, free blood pressure checkup, BMI checkup was also carried out and free medicines were given to ailment diagnosed patients. 

Supervising the two camps, Ranjana Pandit, project Coordinator of Don Bosco said, "We organised these health camps after surveying the slum and poor health facilities in the slum. We will follow-up with patients and the hospital after these camps." 


Rekha Vanjare, one of the patients, after receiving the medicines said, "The free camp was really required in this slum as health facilities are poor in this area and private doctor's fees are high." The camp closed in evening and the beneficiaries thanked the doctors and Don Bosco for their services.


by Sharmila Kudre 


NAVI MUMBAI, FEB 25, 2017: Don Bosco Senior Secondary School, Nerul celebrated its 11th Annual Thanksgiving Day on February 17 – 18 on the school campus. 

On day one, the chief guests were Father Savio Silveira, vice provincial of the Mumbai Province and Father Ajoy Fernandes, former vice provincial. Father Godfrey D'Souza, Provincial of Mumbai province and Father Wilfred D'Souza, rector of the institute, graced the occasion on day two.  


The tiny-tots of the pre- primary section invoked God's blessings through a prayer song and a welcome dance. The highlight of the programme was the musical based on the story of 'General Mickey Magone' and his transformation by Saint John Bosco. 

The musical emphasised the significance of Don Bosco's Preventive system of education. The role of Don Bosco was enacted by the Principal, Father Donald Fernandez himself, who conceptualised and directed the production.  "It was a pleasure acting the role of Don Bosco. It was done with the hope of making Don Bosco known and getting vocations from our institution," Father Fernandez said. The songs were sung by the school choir. 

Keith Correa of Class IX, the Mickey Magone of the musical said, "I was privileged to play the role of Mickey Magone, a protagonist and titular character of the story. I realised the strength of loving kindness, of a guide and mentor in transforming an individual. It helped me to get rid of stage fear and an actor in me was born."

The teamwork of the students was appreciated by all present. Noel Varghese, a student - part of the audience - said, " I was mesmerised with the performance of the actors."


by Dr Susan Mathew


NASHIK, MAR 7, 2017: For 20 Brothers at Divyadaan, the Salesian Institute of Philosophy, Nashik, it was a change from their routine classroom sessions as they underwent a two- day training programme  in social research methodology.  The course content designed to cover core areas in social research was handled by Dr  Susan Mathew of Don Bosco Research Centre, Mumbai on February 22 and 23. 

Prior to the commencement of the sessions, Father Banzelao Teixeira, principal of Divyadaan, spoke about the importance of social research and its relevance in their curriculum as well as in their areas of work. Session one on the first day began with an introduction to social research methodology which touched upon meaning, characteristics, process, types of research and sampling methods. The second session dealt with the development of appropriate tools for collecting primary data from the field for quantitative as well as for qualitative studies. 


This was followed by a briefing on methods of data collection. In order to gain field experience in collecting data, the brothers were divided into groups, assigned topics, designed appropriate tools and later moved  to the field to gather information from the study population as per the topics assigned to each group. Topics for group field study included: use of social media among college students, impact of demonitisation on vendors, socio-economic profile of workers at Divyadaan and living conditions of migrant slumdwellers.

After the field work, one representative from each group made a presentation wherein they shared the research problem, research design, major findings, conclusion, recommendations and field experiences. Each group came up with interesting findings and challenges they faced during data collection. Discussion based on the fieldwork presentations helped the brothers to understand the methodological flaws in their studies and how to overcome the same for future research. 

Evaluation of data and report writing was methodically presented to the brothers enabling each one of them to document a research report based on the topic given for field study. Marks were allotted to individual reports based on the content and presentations. On the second day, an analysis of problem and objective tree was done to widen the students' perceptions on how to identify research problems, go into their root causes, and establish immediate and higher effects. The concluding session highlighted the ethical considerations a researcher has to keep in mind while conducting any social research.

Friday, March 3, 2017


by Brother Christopher Nadar


NASHIK, MARCH 3, 2017: The young Salesians of Don Bosco (DB), presently pursuing studies in Philosophy at Diyvadaan, Nashik or undergoing Practical Training in DB institutions, are often invited to focus on the four words of Don Bosco - For you I study! 


Their formation process has always been 'Youth-directed', dwelling often on the fa├žade of an intellectual world. Father Fabio Attard, General Councillor for Youth Ministry, reset the Salesian compass, to embrace the rich Salesian spirit and charism and to relive Don Bosco's pedagogy for the present times. 

The two-day Youth Ministry seminar, from February 24-25, was well attended by all the formators of Divyadaan, 60 students of philosophy and 18 practical trainees.

Father Attard based his sessions on the all-important 'Salesian Youth Ministry: Frame of Reference'.  He invited all to reflect on their present vocational journey and the situation of the young at large. Drawing inspiration from the journey of the Church over the last fifty years and the Salesian response to this ecclesial invitation, he then challenged all to make relevant responses to the young. He focused on three important aspects: pastoral criteria, pastoral choices and pastoral models.  


His sessions were enhanced with his own vast personal experiences from his Salesian life, coupled with his characteristic style of humor. Focusing on the importance of the 'Preventive System', which Don Bosco insisted upon, Father Attard guided the brothers to help them realise the value of this precious gift from Don Bosco.

The brothers in practical training also got an opportunity to share their enriching encounters with the young, not forgetting the problems and challenges they faced in their mission. Father Attard with a rich background in spiritual direction and with his intuitive mind, was able to lead and advice the brothers to grow in pastoral intelligence. He also challenged all the brothers to take up responsibility for this vast mission of Youth Ministry which is the prime vocation for Salesians. 


Adding to the joy of the occasion, during the conclusion, Father Jacob Palaparambil, from the community of Divyadaan, launched his second book entitled 'Expounding the Philosophical Argument of Private Language'. Father Attard released the book. The book promotes Ludwig Wittgenstein's understanding of language which is the synthesis of two of his major works. The brothers then expressed their gratitude to Father Attard through song and dance.


Finally, all the young Salesians committed themselves to keep alive the fire burning in them. "You are the future, today," Father Attard said.