BIS #6602 Salesian Cooperators' outreach experience at Ahmednagar
by Sudha Pillai for BISMumbai
On 12-13 March, Salesian Cooperators of the Salesian Province went to Ahmednagar a drought prone area of Maharashtra for their outreach. The place is situated about 260 Kms from Mumbai. 30 cooperators along with Father James Nigrel and Father Nelson Mudaliar visited the nearby village - Ranjni and the farmers of that area. Father Mudaliar from Bosco Gramin Vikas Kendra, Khedgaon oriented the visitors about the field work done by them.
BGVK works towards the promotion of sustainable development in the area. They help out these farmers in poverty alleviation and vocational training . Their pilot project of watershed development has helped the farmers to become self reliant and has developed this area into a green zone. BGVK has motivated the farmers in improving their farming practices by the use organic manure which in turn has met the need of the growing population there.
The Cooperators next visited Asha Kiran - an orphanage and sanctuary for children who are affected with Auto-Immune Diseases . This institution is managed by the Pune Jesuit Society and a team of 3 dedicated nuns – Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambery CSJ. These nuns take care of the children's diet and education. They help those who have finished their 12th to put them in the nearby professional colleges for nursing. One Cooperator mentioned “It is heart rending to see the kids are abandoned for no mistake of theirs.”
The visit to Pumpkin house- Protect U My Precious KIN - a home for abandoned children in the vicinity of Ahmednagar was stimulating. 90 children are cared for by the family of Mrs Stella Manuel. Mrs. Stella Manuel was a high school teacher, who felt her call was to work with abandoned and orphans, and left her plum-paying job to start this institution. The children over here are educated by the trained teachers and they are taught to speak and sing in Spanish and Italian along with their studies.
BGVK surprised the Cooperators by welcoming them with aarti, topi, uprane and a personal giveaway. Mrs. Marie from Borivli unit quipped, “We came to give others but we are given and blessed."
It was an enriching experience and all blessed the Lord for the abundance of graces He has showered. The Cooperators returned back on 13 proud to belong to the Salesian Family.