BIS #7111 Fr Rafael Visits DBDS Nerul

By Ms Michelle Pereira for BISMumbai

On 21 November 2023, Don Bosco Development Services, Nerul, had the privilege of hosting Fr Rafael Bejarano Rivera from the Youth Ministry Sector in Rome. Along with him, Fr Joe Prabhu - Executive Director of the Don Bosco National YaR Forum in Delhi, Fr Francis Bosco - National Director of DB4M, and Fr Sunil Pinto were also present.

The visit commenced with a comprehensive presentation by the Social Development Services team, outlining the diverse areas of social work undertaken through Don Bosco, Nerul. Despite the language differences, the team engaged with the staff, addressing queries and gaining insights into the challenges faced at the grassroots level. Fr Rivera, in particular, exhibited patience and attentiveness, actively listening to the experiences and issues raised by the staff.

During the discussions, staff members highlighted the need for a shift in community mindset—from dependency on free assistance to a proactive approach in shaping their future. They emphasised the importance of gaining the trust and confidence of community members before imparting guidance. The ongoing skills training programmes in areas such as tailoring, beautician courses, and RACW repairs were showcased as initiatives equipping individuals with the skills necessary for career advancement and sustainable livelihoods.

Fr Adolph Furtado also participated in the discussion, contributing valuable insights to the conversation. Following a productive discussion, the team proceeded to a community visit to the Mankhurd Migrant Community. The visit included observations of skill development activities, such as mehndi and tailoring, and an adult literacy class in progress. The team actively engaged with community members, fostering understanding and empathy. The team interacted with the ladies, seeking to comprehend the challenges faced in the slum areas of Mumbai. Their genuine interest and interaction left a positive impact on the community. 

Post-lunch, the team explored the initiatives undertaken by the Salesian community, emphasising its commitment to uplifting underprivileged women. The comprehensive approach includes skill development courses, adult literacy programmes, financial literacy initiatives, and awareness campaigns addressing medical and social issues. This holistic strategy reflects the mission to empower and enhance the lives of women in the community, fostering both personal growth and social well-being.