BIS #6929 DOSTI at DB Makarpura

By Fr Jerome Edison for BISMumbai

The Salesian community of Don Bosco, Makarpura, is organising a Summer camp called 'DOSTI'  - an acronym for Don Bosco Organisation for Self-Transforming Initiatives. It will be held from 25 April to 28 May 2023, and will be extended into a daily oratory and evening study classes for the poor and needy children in the vicinity. The aim of this programme is to build a friendship with underprivileged kids and help them with education.

On 25 April, DOSTI was inaugurated in the solemn presence of the Rector, Fr Isaac Arackaparambil. He welcomed the children coming from different slums around the institution with great warmth. He promised the kids a great fun and learning experience at Don Bosco. The children responded with smiles of gratitude for all that they are to receive through DOSTI. 

The project was pioneered with a great amount of mobilisation by Fr Isaac with Mr Shailesh Rathwa, Mr Vijay Swami and Cl. Jittin Varghese. In all, 27 slum areas around the 5km radius of Don Bosco Makarpura Campus were identified. Most of these families are labourers and migrants struggling for their daily livelihood. The project involves the collaboration of the Parish community, the students, staff and Past Pupils of Don Bosco. Many of them volunteered for the noble cause of teaching the poor and abandoned young. 

Shailesh Rathwa, a past pupil of Don Bosco Kawant has been very much active in this DOSTI project. He shared his experience: “Don Bosco has helped me in my life to achieve my dreams and I feel indeed privileged to be involved with Don Bosco to help poor children to achieve their dreams like me, and follow in the footsteps of Don Bosco.”

The Summer camp began with full gusto, fun and learning with a total 275 children registered. The children have been divided into 3 categories based on their age: Juniors, Inters and Seniors. Along with fun and frolic, focus is given on learning spoken and written English, Maths and Basic Computer.

Alan D’Souza, a youth from the parish said: “Seeing these children has really opened my eyes to a different aspect of reality which, if I had not volunteered in the camp, I would have not known. It has made me more responsible and grateful to my parents and to God.”

Reflecting on Rector Major's call to focus on the poor young people and on the Provincial Chapter recommendation of opening the institution spaces to the poorest of the poor, this has indeed been a step in the right direction at Don Bosco, Makarpura.