Saturday, March 24, 2018

BIS #5330 HONOURING WOMEN

by Father Dinesh Vasava and Cleric Sachin Tribhuvan
GUJARAT, MAR 24, 2018: Four hundred and twenty women from the villages of the Kapadvanj block in Kheda district, Gujarat participated in the day-long programme entitled Nari Tu Kadhi Na Hari at the Kapadvanj Don Bosco Society campus (KDBS) to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 21.

Salesian collaborator, Professor Narendra Vasava from N S Patel College, Anand-Gujarat was the chief guest for the programme, which started with a prayer to Don Bosco. Father Mayank Parmar, manager KDBS and Director of DRISTI Don Bosco welcomed the participants and introduced the chief guest. Father Dinesh Vasava, Director AmrutDhara Don Bosco, welcomed the guest of honour, Father Issac Arackaparambil - manager Don Bosco Dakor and Director DEEP Don Bosco.

Ribca Khristie presented the annual report of the institution at the onset and everyone appreciated the various activities conducted during the course of the year for the empowerment of women in the villages of Kapadvanj. 

A cultural programme which included skits, songs and dances was then presented by the groups of women. Professor Vasava in his speech dwelt on the theme of ‘women as the leaders of today, and as the future of tomorrow. “You women are the backbone of the families, it is you who guide and direct families on the correct and happy path,” he said. 

The programme presented an opportunity for the women belonging to various the Self Help Groups - animated by DRISTI - to come together, interact informally, share notes, celebrate womanhood and return back enthused with future plans. The garba and the sumptuous meal added to the celebrations. Twenty students from N S Patel college in Anand-Gujarat, pursuing their Masters in Social Work studies also participated and presented a socially relevant item as part of the cultural programme. 


Proposing the vote of thanks, Father Parmar thanked the chief guest, the staff, KDBS hostellers and all women who were present. He said, “If a family is to do well and progress, it is thanks to the effort and vision of the woman of the house whose constant guidance is relevant and a must.” As part of this occasion, the Annual Report 2017-2018 of DRISTI Don Bosco was also released and distributed.

BIS #5329 WORKING TOWARDS THE GOOD OF SOCIETY

by Father Dinesh Vasava and Cleric Sachin Tribhuvan

GUJARAT, MAR 23, 2018: Twenty students from N S Patel College, Anand-Gujarat attended a two-day long exposure-cum-training programme on various issues in social work at the Kapadvanj Don Bosco Society (KDBS) campus on March 21 and 22.

Father Mayank Parmar, the manager KDBS and Director DRISTI Don Bosco, animated the initial session of the workshop with a specific focus on the social upliftment that DRISTI engages in the Kapadvanj block of the Kheda district in Gujarat.

Professor Narendra Vasava and Professor Mukesh accompanied the students for the programme. Following the initial discussion with Father Parmar, the students participated in International Women’s Day celebrations on the theme of women’s empowerment with a socially relevant cultural presentation. 

In the post-lunch session, Shailesh Parmar, programme officer - DRISTI Don Bosco, animated a session on the interventions possible for the upliftment of rural poor through relevant social aid programmes. A session on personality development was then conducted by Father Parmar, who invited the students to introspect their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and life values, which are essential to have a purpose, vision and mission as Master of Social Work (MSW) students.

A campfire in the evening, which included action songs, skits, yells and garba was planned and organised by the hostellers at KDBS under the mentorship of Father Dinesh Vasava, Director-AmrutDhara Don Bosco. He also screened socially relevant award winning shorts on environmental sustenance, alcoholism, bonded labour, respecting women, thinking positive and family values for the students.


Father Vasava further animated a short question-discussion based on the film-screening, in which the students expressed their appreciation and gratitude for the inspirational ‘life is beautiful and it is to be used wisely and prudently’ reflection, that will enable them to better their own lives and that of others.

Salesian scholastic, Sachin Tribhuvan, conducted an early-morning spiritual meditation on the second day. The students were grateful for this time of prayer, silence and contemplation. The one thing they cherished the most was the silence which helped them be calm and serene in order to pray and reflect.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

BIS #5328 DBIT’S CAMPUS COLOSSEUM

by Sahana

MUMBAI, MAR 22, 2018: The thirst for innovation, the drive for perfection, the will to work hard and yet have fun is something most students of Don Bosco Institute of Technology (DBIT), Kurla are known for. Colosseum 2018 inaugurated on February 27 is a perfect example of hard work and sacrifice that DBITians are willing to invest to make their technical festival a success.

When the core committee was informed by the Principal, Dr. Prasanna Nambiar, that in 2018 none of the events conducted at Don Bosco Institute of Technology would be a repetition of the things done in the past, the committee was challenged to create a spectacular event from scratch - a truly daunting task!

To fulfil the mandate, the core committee brainstormed and worked arduously to organise Colosseum 18, the likes of which has never been seen before. The preparations began in September 2017 and the committee put their heart and soul into the endeavour. Every domain in the field of technology was scrutinised and analysed to ascertain what the student body of DBIT was most interested in. Centred around those interests, events were painstakingly planned to the last detail to ensure that all participants had some takeaway from every session.

Colosseum 2018 was a success due to the variety of content offered to the participants. HyperLoop, Block Chains, Automation in Finance and Manufacturing 4.0 were some of the sessions during which participants interacted with well-known entrepreneurs and company representatives. Workshops were conducted on Hacking, Django, Deep Learning and Robotics to give participants a chance to learn hands-on from experts in the industry. 

It was not just tech, tech, tech all the way at Colosseum 2018. Participants also had the opportunity to listen to the extraordinary experiences of ordinary people who have become youth icons. Convergence was the first ever talk series conducted in DBIT where speakers like Parth Thakur, Harsh Kedia and Hari Sankar gave an insight as to how they overcame obstacles in life to be who they are today.

High on Films was the highlight of Colosseum 2018. Directors of critically acclaimed films like 'Newton' and 'Lipstick under my Burkha', addressed youth about the making of the movies, the story behind the scenes and their purpose in making films on bold social themes.    

Colosseum 2018 taught students that there is a world outside college, where technology is developing, industries are growing and people in that world are not going to wait for anyone. The festival opened the doors wide for the participants to explore that progressive world beyond the campus.

BIS #5327 IN HONOUR OF SAINT JOSEPH

by Sunita D'Souza

MUMBAI, MAR 22, 2018: Saint Joseph's High School in Wadala celebrated the feast of their Patron, Saint Joseph, on March 19, by stressing on the virtues exhibited by the Saint who witnessed first-hand the face of Our Lord.

A nine day novena to Saint Joseph ushered in the feast, with the themes revolving around the virtues of Saint Joseph in his earthly life. Father Godfrey D'Sa, the Principal, Father Vivian D'Souza, the Rector, ex-teachers and alumni spoke at length about Saint Joseph and his role in moulding the Christ Child.

The solemn Eucharist was celebrated on March 19 in honour of Saint Joseph, with staff, students, PTA and alumni in attendance. In his homily, Father D'Souza stressed upon the laity taking one virtue of Saint Joseph home. He urged people to ask God to help them grow in that particular virtue so that they may imitate Saint Joseph in their lives. 

After Holy Mass, the Catholic boys who attended the novena services regularly were given gifts. The celebration ended with a get-together with the staff - past and present, past pupils, PTA, and well-wishers and the distribution of a feast bonus!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

BIS #5326 ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT FOR WOMEN

By Krishna Shinde

WALVANDA, MAR 21, 2018: Twenty-eight women attended a special five day residential workshop on entrepreneurship development, organised by Bosco Samajik Vikas Sanstha (BSVS) which began on March 20 to 24 at Walvanda.

The issues dealt with at the workshop included, what is entrepreneurship, who is an entrepreneur, charms of being an entrepreneur, how to identify business opportunities, types of businesses, problem solving, attitude development, goal setting and motivation.

Those who run successful businesses shared their experience on issues they specialise in, for instance popcorn selling, paper plate making, honey bee farming, fishery farming, goat and poultry farming, selling of vegetables and dry fish.

Nitin Jadav from Nashik was the resource person for the workshop. Father Anaclete D'Mello, Director of BSVS inaugurated the workshop in the presence of Father Rixson Nigrel, Prakash Wagh and Ravi Basara. Anto Thomas and Father Nigrel coordinated the workshop.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

BIS #5325 HONOURING WOMEN

by Ashish Sanglikar

Roses and slogans of respect were in store for the female staff of Don Bosco Junior College in Pune as they made their way into the institution on Women's Day on March 8 and 9.

Students held placards with slogans such as 'Be a man, respect a woman', 'Educate girls and educate a nation ' and 'Stop violence against women' to stress on respecting women in the country. Pictures of Mother Teresa, Indira Gandhi, Kiran Bedi, PT Usha, Rani Laxmibai and Sushmita Sen were displayed to inspire the younger generation to follow in the footsteps of prominent women world over.

Leo, the supervisor of the institution briefed the gathering on the importance of Women's Day celebration. This was followed by an address by Ruchi Singh, a standard 11 student. The college boys entertained the teachers with a dance, following which an audio-visual presentation was made on woman empowerment, notably on the contribution done by Savitribai Phule for women education in Pune and other parts of Maharashtra.

On March 9, the teaching and non-teaching women staff were facilitated through a small celebration organised by the male staff of the institution. Ashish Pathare graced the celebration through a song 'Tere Sang Yara'. This was followed by a speech by Ashish Sanglikar from the Junior College. The Principal, Father Bosco D'Mello then addressed the staff by focusing on the value and existence of a woman in each man's life and holding them dear to one's heart. He thanked the women teachers of the institution for their contribution. 

The teachers were gifted a set of earnings and a pendant as a symbol of love and appreciation. Thelma, the head mistress of the primary section, expressed her gratitude by thanking the male staff for having organised a programme of this nature. She concluded saying, "Though women may achieve great success but they can't ignore the work of  men who make them complete." Pearl from the junior college added, "The teaches are indeed thankful to the entire gents staff for making us feel so special."  

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

BIS #5324 CELEBRATING INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

by Mignonne D’Souza

MUMBAI, MAR 13, 2018: Nearly 1400 women attended the annual International Women’s Day celebration, organised by Don Bosco Development Society (DBDS), at the sprawling Don Bosco, Matunga campus on March 11.  

The women attending the day-long event availed of the services offered by an onsite medical team which provided free gynaecology, ECG, sugar and blood pressure checkups at the Provincial House. 

Father Godfrey D’Souza, the Provincial, inaugurated the event alongside Father Savio Silveira, the vice provincial, Suhasini Mendonca from the Mendonca Foundation, and other prominent members of the Don Bosco family. The Guests of Honour were Francesco Tagliabue and Erio Bevilacqua, from the voluntary association of Auxilium India  that has worked in conjunction with Don Bosco for a decade.

“Women are the most important people in our lives, because we are all born out of them,” Father D’Souza, said. 

The DBDS team, headed by Father Rolvin D’Mello for the past three years, has been working in the slums of Dharavi, Kurla, Wadala, Dadar and has formed Self Help Groups (SHGs) locally known as Bachat Gaths, to mobilise women to work towards sustainably improving their own lives. Women are taught life skills like tailoring, masala making and beautician courses in a bid to help them earn a living. 

A video presentation on how these groups have tackled real-life problems was screened. There was an inspiring story of Kulsum from a slum in Kurla, who despite being physically disabled, went on to learn and teach tailoring, thereby empowering other girls to be independent. Another case study, Nargis, a former member of Ekta gath, was highlighted. Nargis has been teaching the beautician’s course to underprivileged adolescents as part of the DBDS programme, for the past two years now. 

This was followed by a set of videos highlighting problems and how the gaths found solutions to them like a new public toilet in Laxmanwadi, Wadala and a garbage disposal system devised by a group in Dharavi. “A lady in Ganesh nagar had a successful tiffin business with her gath. In a calamity, her house was destroyed and when she had no hope left, the ladies in her group helped her set up a home again and pick up her life. After much counselling, she runs her own sandwich stall in Pratiksha Nagar. All they need is support and encouragement. Ladies take care of everyone in the family, but themselves. Through SHG’s we help them do just that,” Ranjana Gangurde, a social worker at DBDS, who handles the slum pockets from Wadala to CST, said.

“I have formed upto 25 gaths in the slums of Bhindi Bazar, Imamwada, Indira Nagar, Kamala Nagar, etc where the conditions are worse than Dharavi. Our rapport with these communities has been built over the years and we have seen them improve from having absolutely no basic facilities to leading normal lives today.”

Zulekha Ahmed, a representative of Ankur Bachat gath in Kurla, summed up how DBDS has helped change her life, “Our lives at home limits, our learning and development, makes us nervous and scared. A woman is truly free when she can go out in the world and experience reality, and we can learn how to fight and how to live.” 

In the course of the day, 300 women availed of services offered at the medical camp that was set up in conjunction with Apollo hospital. Doctor Mini Namboodri, the gynaecologist at the camp, appreciated the well-managed private set up but saw room for improvement. “The response from the women is wonderful but we should try to provide more tests. Pap smear test to detect cervical problems as well as medicines made available for fungal infections, joint pains and skin ailments will make the camp more holistic,” she said.

“For our organisation it is not just about supporting monetarily but it is important that we visit the people, stay with them. We come from Italy once a year and it touches us how some of the ladies recognise us. We have met a girl at the Jet Airways counter at the Mumbai airport two years ago, who knew us and shared how Don Bosco has helped fund her education. That is the change we like to see and are so proud of,” Tagliabue, said. 

Empowering women as a concept is noble but practical implementation is a challenge. DBDS has accepted this challenge and is working to give women the opportunity to make a difference. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

BIS #5323 BE-ING PREPARED FOR BOSCORE

by Father Ian Pinto

AHMEDNAGAR, MAR 12, 2018: The 13th National Boscoree, an all India gathering of scouts and guides, is slated to be held in December 2018, and preparations are well underway. As a precursor to the event, a weeklong camp was organised at BGVK, Ahmednagar, from March 6 to 11, to prepare the brothers – from the pre-novices to practical trainees - for the Boscoree.

Four scoutmasters from Chennai, Amalraj, George, Raja and Lazar formed the training committee for the camp. The week was packed with intense activity, education, practice and training.

The 'learning by doing method' was strongly emphasised and diligently implemented. The trainers were divided into two camps: basic and advance, and they were exposed to nearly every component of the scouting syllabus.

Sessions were tailored to the level of the participants and were engineered to ensure maximum retention of the information through both theory and practice. The experience of living in tents was memorable. Patrol-wise activities and competitions added colour to the course.

Campfire on every alternate night were held and the grand camp fire at the end of the event was moment of fellowship, entertainment and relaxation. The trainers and participants alike were enriched and enlightened by the experience and gratitude was passed all-around.

BIS #5322 SPORTS MANIA

By BIS Correspondent

KUWAIT, MAR 12, 2018: The Salmiya Parish Youth (SPY) organised Sports Mania 2.0 (Season 2) for the Catholic parishioners of Kuwait at the Indian English Academy School on March 9.

Father Lionel Braganza addressed the gathering at the onset, after which Father Derek Misquitta officially declared the event open. The first game kick-started at 1 pm with the ever popular 'Minute to Win It.' The participants were divided into colour coded teams red, blue, green, yellow, black and white.

Games such as Double Football, Blind Throw ball, Box Cricket, Bucket Ball, Rally Table Tennis, Skill Hockey, Carom were played with great enthusiasm. The event concluded with all the participants competing in an Obstacle Race.

The winning white team, led by Stephanie Pereira, was awarded gold medals and a rolling trophy. The red team led by Fiona D'Silva were awarded silver medals, and the green team lead by Ivan Lobo secured third place. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

BIS #5321 COME AND SEE

by BIS Correspondent

AHMEDNAGAR, MAR 10, 2018: A spiritual retreat for 250 parishioners of Saint John Parish, Ahmednagar was organised on March 4, as a holy exercise for the season of Lent. 

The main preacher was Father Benjamin Alphonsa ofm, Rector and the parish priest of Songaon parish, Ahmednagar. The retreat commenced at 8 am with the Way of the Cross, animated by Brother Julius Rodriguez ofm. 

The one day retreat was divided into three parts. The first part was about Prayer. The retreatants were told about the necessity of prayer in their daily lives in order to be close to Jesus, who suffered and died for their sins. 

The second part was about the Holy Rosary. The preacher spoke of inculcating a devotion to the Rosary. In his talk, he mentioned that the Blessed Mother has appeared to many and healed them, yet people fail to believe in Mother Mary and the power of her Rosary. The preacher emphasised on the apparitions of the Blessed Mother at Fatima, Lourdes, Vellankani, Haregaon and called each one to believe in Her.
The third part of the retreat was about the devotion to the Holy Eucharist. The preacher called the faithful to participate in the Holy Eucharist spiritually and sincerely. He also prepared the people for the Sacrament of Confession. He spoke about the gift of Confession, after which all had the opportunity to avail of it. Father Vishwas Pereira sdb, Father Baptist sdb, Father Vishal Lopes sdb were available at the confessional. 

The retreatants felt rejuvenated and spiritually invigorated with the experience. They were grateful to the Parish Priest, Father Thomas D'Costa sdb and Father Alphonsa who animated the retreat. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

BIS #5320 GREENER PEOPLE, GREENER WORLD


by Karen Laurie

MUMBAI, MAR 5, 2018: Teachers and students representing 48 schools sit on the edge of their seats in the packed Bianchi hall at Don Bosco International School, Matunga on March 3; some crossing their fingers, others whispering a prayer, hoping their labour of love towards conserving the environment earns them the Green School Award. 

The staff and students of St. Joseph's High School, Wadala squeal with joy as they are declared winners for 2017-18. Some are visibly disappointed. Still others are heard brainstorming ideas, eyeing the top spot in the following year. 

The Green Schools Campaign (GSC) is an initiative of GreenLine, a Don Bosco environmental organisation that started in 2010. Through hands-on learning, students are taught to be responsible towards the environment. The Green School Award for the best performing school and the Green Champ for the greenest student in each school is declared on an annual basis.

"Making eco bricks was a lot of fun. We enjoyed dumping all our dry plastic waste into PET bottles. It then became hard and we taped many such bottles together. We even put a cushion on them and turned them into stools," Anushka Doctor, Green Champ of St. Anne's School, Fort, said.  

The theme for the eighth edition of GSC was 'Go Trash-less'. With Mumbai currently generating about 10,000 tonnes of trash daily, waste management is a pressing issue. The Campaign began with an orientation session for 80 teachers, preparing them to lead their army of students through the year. Three sessions were then conducted for students: mapping trash from its beginning to its end; managing trash by reducing waste and correctly disposing it, and minimising trash by working towards trash-less neighbourhoods. 

Through workshops like eco brick making and film-making, the little campaigners were taught how to maximise the use of their mobile phones to create awareness on environmental matters like garbage black spots. Outdoor events like the Versova beach clean-up drive, a visit to a gobar gas and sewage management plant provided the young ecologists with first-hand experience. 

"Kids clean while adults litter. When you young people come and clean beaches, the message you are giving the adults is that we are green and we want to change the world," Chief Guest Afroze Shah, the UN Champion of the Earth awardee, for conducting the largest beach clean-up drive in the world, said.

The participating schools are finally judged on seven parameters: waste audit, mapping the journey of waste, making eco-bricks, managing waste in schools, filming garbage black spots, litter-day to raise awareness about waste, being the neighbourhood hero by using the Swachhata app. 

The winning school, St. Joseph's mobilised the entire institute towards its greening initiatives. During the breaks students including first and second graders, collected all the waste and segregated it. It was then given to NGO's who recycled it and the school got back benches and other stationary for its use.  

Waste gathered from every square meter of the school premises was audited, bringing about a realisation of the quantity of waste generated. Designated eco-commandos started keeping a check on fellow students from littering. "Our school is now 100% litter-free. Thermocol and flex are banned in school. When we go to a higher class, we upcycle our text books by passing it to the lower class. Every assembly we are told about going Trash-less and we even hold rallies in the neighbourhood to create awareness on how to segregate dry, wet and e-waste," Melvin Anthony, an eco-commando, said. 

The road to victory, for the eco-activists, has been ridden with hurdles. "The problem we have faced is that even though we segregate waste, wet waste is not composted. It is dumped together with dry waste in the dump yard. Garbage trucks do not have a waste management system. It is very disappointing for us. Everyone from citizens to officials need to work together like we teachers and students are working together," Cleopatra Farro, a teacher said.  

The winner of last year's Green School award, Auxilium Convent High School, Lonavla, came a close second in the latest edition of the competition. "We worked very hard. We collected 800 tyres from different places in Lonavla, at no cost. We then converted a dump yard in our school premises into a landscape garden. We further adorned it beautifully for the children with their help," Unita Patrao, a teacher of the school, said. 

So charged are the nature lovers that they willing wait after school hours and even come on weekends to indulge in eco-activities. They make door mats of waste to set a precedence of how waste can be creatively upcycled. The school makes cloth and news paper bags to distribute to shop keepers and citizens in a bid to promote a green neighbourhood. Through street plays and rallies, they have convinced people through most of Lonavla, to immerse idols in homemade tanks, rather than pollute water bodies. 

A consistent winner down the years, Sacred Heart High School, Vashi secured the third place. "We do not stop at the Campaign's annual theme, we continue implementing old themes, while adopting new ones. We are a sustainable school," Nirmala Nair, the head of the school's eco-club that is now in its tenth year, said. 

When the GSC theme was Fauna, the school created three habitats: crawly garden, amphibian garden and butterfly garden. For Flora, they made a bio-diversity garden which they continue to maintain, with each tree bearing its name. When water and energy conservation was the focus, the school developed a rain water conservation system. They even began recycling waste water from the staff rooms through bio-purification, where the Canna plant was used to decontaminate water, which was then used in the amphibian garden. 

Don Bosco High School, Matunga won the award for the school with Exceptional Improvement. They collected 1000 eco bricks, each of which had to be of a standard weight and condition, making it robust enough for the construction of public toilets. 

Of the nearly 50 participating schools, 20 have implemented waste segregation and 25 are following composting, wherein the work is done by the students themselves. 

"It is a proud moment for me to say that the Green Schools Campaign is the biggest environmental education programme going on in the city of Mumbai," Father Savio Silveira, Director of GreenLine, said.

Father Edwin D'Souza, Chairperson of Father Maschio Foundation that supports GSC, encouraged the children to keep up the good work, while advising them to be greener within, treading the path of honesty in all their do, thereby reiterating GreenLine's vision: Greener people, Greener World.