by Brother Jittin Mathew and Meena Kini
MUMBAI, FEB 26, 2019: Saint John Bosco once said, “Remember that education is a matter of the heart.” Reflecting on his words, a discussion and presentation on ‘Creating Opportunities for Marginalised Young People through Education and Vocational Training’ were organised by Bosco Boys Home (BBH) Borivli in collaboration with Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS) on February 23.
Forty participants from non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Community Based Organisations (CBO), Church Community Centres (CCC) and St. Vincent de Paul parish communities (VDP) came together to find a way to give today’s youth a brighter future.
The objective of the session was to spread awareness of the services that BBH offers in the form of technical courses, residential programmes for children at risk, and a proposed open schooling programme or non- formal educational programme for children who have dropped out from school between the ages 10 to 18 years.
Many NGO’s between Bandra to Palghar attended this programme and shared their inputs. Caroline D’Souza moderated the session. She has worked for 27 years in the NIOS sphere in collaboration with Don Bosco, Borivli and Wadala for the promotion of NIOS and homeschooling.
The session started with different groups introducing themselves and the nature of their work. Deacon Romero D’Souza, the Perfect of Studies of CWC and the Principal of the Technical School, presented an overview of Bosco Boys Home and the Technical Institute.
The first presentation was on Bosco Boys Home and about Don Bosco and his compassion for marginalised young people. Don Bosco’s vision and the Salesian mission to take care of youth was highlighted. The history, present and the future plans of BBH was shared. It also showcased the activities the boys of BBH regularly participate in like sports, games, music, dance, theatre, and art, with the help of volunteers from various NGO’s like Bhoomi, U n I. In the next presentation, Deacon D'Souza shared information about the various technical courses available at BBH.
The participants then broke into groups and had discussions around the problems they face working with children between the age group of 10 to 18 years, the kind of health and services they need, their challenges with regards to formal schooling, as well as the help and intervention required to overcome the difficulties.
“School dropouts are children-at-risk and become vulnerable to exploitation. They become victims of crime, drugs, pornography etc. Such children have greater difficulties in rehabilitation or picking up trades later on. Through NIOS, young people can finish 10th/12th standard and have better opportunities in employment. The subjects are mostly vocational in nature and can be studied from home. It also has advantages of several attempts in exams and fewer subjects which are bakery, computers, home science, painting, etc”, D’Souza said.
D’Souza went on to explain that BBH was considering the implementation of this system from June 2019. Those above the age of 14 years could be enrolled for the NIOS exam. Those between 12 to14 years could be prepared and homeschooled through functional math, conversational English, civic understanding, grooming and attire, extracurricular activities, computers, and sports before they went on to give the exam.
“I had come for this workshop basically to know the services provided by Don Bosco. We also have enrolled our children for a few of the courses which are available here. They had a very good experience. We have coordinated with BBH for over a number of years,” Sheryl John, a social worker from Snehasadan said.