BIS #6582 Don Bosco in Nandurbar with Yuva Sanstha

by Father Nelson Mudaliar for BISMumbai

The Salesian Province of Mumbai (INB) has been continuously working to fulfil the dream and mission of Don Bosco to reach out to the marginalized, the abandoned and the poorest of the poor. The programmatic lines following the 28th General Chapter of the Salesian Congregation states: “This six-year period (2020-2026) will have to be distinguished by profound work in the Congregation to grow in charismatic depth, in Salesian identity, in all the phases of life, with a serious commitment in every Province and in every Salesian community in order to come to say, like Don Bosco - I have promised God that until my last breath I shall have lived for my poor young people.” In keeping with the above, the Salesians of Mumbai Province have taken a bold step to work in the Missions of Nandurbar.

The district of Nandurbar is one of the smallest and backward districts of Maharashtra, located at the edge of Maharashtra with Gujarat on the west and Madhya Pradesh on the north and east. The Dhadgaon block in Nandurbar district has a lot of tribal population. The main tribes here are Pawra and Bhil. The villages are geographically big with many small clusters called Padas which have houses at a considerable distance from each other.

The Salesians after a survey with the help of local key persons in Dhadgaon have identified two main villages (Kusumveri and Katri) with 18 padas where we could begin initial work. An office space has been rented out and a Staff (social worker) has been employed there. On 20 February 2022, the Provincial Team comprising of the Provincial – Fr Savio Silveira together with ViceProvincial Fr Ashley Miranda and the Economer Fr Manuel Murzello inaugurated the Salesian work in Dhadgaon which goes by the name – Don Bosco Yuva Sanstha. The Provincial team along with the team from BGVK – Fr George D’Abreo, Mr Kantilal Patole and Fr Nelson Mudaliar visited Kusumveri village on 20 evening and Katri village on 21 morning. They were accompanied by the local Sarpanches, members of the Gram Panchayat and the staff employed. In both the villages, they were warmly welcomed (with phetas and bows and arrows as per the custom of the tribals) and had a brief discussion with the people getting to know their dreams, their needs for the people in their village. The villagers promised complete support to the Salesians for all their endeavours in these villages. The provincial team also shared a meal with the villagers in Kusumveri in the evening which showed a lot of trust, hospitality and care.

The initial work of the Salesians in the villages will be to provide skill training to the youth (who are currently migrating to Gujarat as sugarcane cutters); to establish contacts and links for job placements; to begin support classes in the villages and in immediate proximity to help them avail of the Spoken English Camp in BGVK and arrange for exposure visits to the Salesian Technical Institutes of Chinchwad and Chakan.