Monthly Archives: May2015

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The following report outlining the work of Salesians assisting the people of Nepal in the aftermath of the recent earthquake in that country has been sent to us by Fr George Menamparampil.

Nepal Don Bosco Society continues untiringly on its mission of service to the earthquake affected. On Wednesday, 6 May, Feast of St. Dominic Savio, we reached out to 238 families in 5 villages (namely, Muldol, Khasimara, Saliang, Pyangaon, and Bulu), and distributed to them 1500 kilos (55 bags x 25kgs) of rice, 9 bags of daal (lentils), 13 bags of chiuda (beaten rice), 12 boxes of biscuits for children, 89 boxes of Wai Wai noodles.

On 7 May, we made a second visit to Tulolsilvari village in Sindhupalchok (which had visited on 29 April), and delivered rice, daal, oil, and tarpaulins. 300 bags of rice.

Nepal-InfoANS-1 Nepal-InfoANS-2 Nepal-InfoANS-3 Nepal-InfoANS-4 Nepal-InfoANS-5

On 7 May itself we had sent two truckloads of provisions and tarpaulins to Gorkha to be stored in St. Joseph’s School at Gorkha. On the next day, 8 May, we left at 6.00AM for Gorkha and reached there at 10.00AM. Upon our arrival at St. Joseph’s, Fr. Jijo, Fr. Silas (the Vicar General of Nepal Vicariate) and Fr. Dennis the Principal of St. Joseph’s went to the VDC (Village Development Committee) to get the required permissions. In the office of the VDC the Salesian priests faced much difficulty as the VDC was not willing to give the permission. Moreover, present in the office of the VDC were representatives of the various political parties of Nepal, and all of them had to consent to our distribution before the VDC could give the permission. After much argument and bargaining, the permission was finally given. In the meantime, I organized the loading of 7 tractor-trailers in the campus of ST. Joseph’s School. The total quantity of relief material was 12500 kgs (500 bags) of rice, 660kgs (22 bags) of daal, 504 litres (42 cartons) of cooking oil, 500 kgs (10 sacks) of salt, and 600 (120 bundles) of tarpaulins of 18’x15’ size. The village to which these were destined is Muchok, a mere 7 kms from the epicentre of the earthquake. Muchok has 943 families and suffered 43 deaths. We were able to set off only at 2.00PM. Four hours of bumpy ride along a mudroad in a hired four-wheel drive vehicle took us to Muchok. There were 7 of us: Fr. Jijo John, Fr. Silas, Fr. Roman Sikon from Krakow Province of Poland (a former missionary in Nepal), Sr. Aquila and Maria Ekka (FMAs) and Sr. Antoinette, CJ. The tractors had started out earlier and took 5 hours to reach there. Arriving earlier in the village, we were able to meet the villagers and listen to their stories, and see for ourselves a part of the devastation wreaked there. The only +2 level high school serving the entire region lay in utter ruins. In fact, children were leafing through the many notebooks and exam sheets lying amid the rubble. Four teachers, among the 12 in a staff meeting in the school, had died when the earthquake happened. However, when the tractors arrived at Muchok, there were only four of them. We thought the remaining three were struggling along the road. It was nearly dark when the tractors arrived, and there was no time to distribute the relief materials ourselves. So, we got the villagers to unload the tractor trailers and to stock all the materials on a cement floor. The villagers would guard it in the night, and on the following morning, the village committee would distribute it. The leaders assured us that they would distribute it equally among all, with special concern for the injured/ sick and the more needy families. The village elders were profuse in their gratitude to us, and in fact, wanted us to stay the night and share their food. They even wanted to stage a cultural programme for us in appreciation. But we had to return to Gorkha.

It was during our return journey that we found out what had happened to the three missing tractor trailers: they were high jacked en route to Muchok!! It was a scenario straight out of a James Bond thriller: the double-crossing mastermind was one who befriended us in the VDC’s Office and was very helpful in facilitating our work there, turned out to be the double agent. He knew exactly how much we were transporting, how and to where. So, he arranged for three trailers to be intercepted and redirected to where he wanted! Imagine our frustration and anger! We returned to St. Joseph’s School, Gorkha by 10.00PM. After having dinner provided by Fr. Dennis, spent the night at there. We started the return journey to Kathmandu at 5.30 AM the next day and reached Thecho by 10.00AM. We were dog tired but happy that we had made a difference, never mind the high jacked supplies. Hopefully they will serve some needy people.

On 9 May, seven tractor-trailers were loaded 12500 kgs (500 bags) of rice, 840kgs (28 bags) of daal, 600 litres (50 cartons) of cooking oil, 500 kgs (10 sacks) of salt, and 396 (33 bundles) of tarpaulins of 18’x15’ size. They were destined for Sorpani village in Gorkha district, a 5-hour drive in the general direction of yesterday’s Muchok. Sorpani has 1230 households, with nearly all houses destroyed. This relief supply was arranged at the request of Fr. Silas who had taken up the responsibility of transportation and distribution. The double-crosser high jacked three tractor-trailers again today, but they were soon recovered with police help.

On 10 May, we formed two teams: one team consisting of Fr. Tony Cherian and Fr. Jiji Kalavanal along with Mr. Purno went to Lele for a follow up visit to assess the developments, and provide psychosocial care. The opportunity was used also to gather some video footage for the proposed video log. The other team consisted of Fr. Roman, Fr. T.L. Joseph, Mr. Rajan (Advocate) and 2 FMAs went to Sarsyunkharka village in Nuwakot district (3hrs drive from Thecho). Sarsyunkharka has 1241 families and 350 houses destroyed. The team distributed rice, daal, cooking oil, salt, and tarpaulins of 18’x15’ size. Fr. Jijo attended the meeting of the Nepal Vicariate’s Core Team for Earthquake Relief.

Salesian Mission Office in Ireland

If you would like to help and make a donation for Nepal please forward your cheque or postal order with description “FOR NEPAL” to:

Fr Dan Devitt SDB
Salesian Missions,
P.O. Box 50,
Pallaskenry,
Co. Limerick

Agriculturalist / Farm Manager
Swaziland
Description of Assignment

Agriculturalist-for-Swaziland-webViatores Christi (VC) works in the area of development cooperation in the faith based development sector. We specialise in the recruitment, training and placement of skilled volunteers on projects identified by a mission partner which meets the needs of the beneficiaries. We also specialise in the monitoring and implementation of projects as well as in the provision of experts in developing countries for targeted consultancy. Since 1960 we have recruited, trained and placed over 2000 volunteers in 48 different countries. Today we have volunteers in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean


Download VC Job Description in PDF: VC Job Description Swaziland Agriculturalist
Download Poster in High Resolution: Agriculturalist for Swaziland Poster


Assignment Title: Agriculturalist / Farm Manager

Type of Assignment: International Development Worker

Project Title: Youth Agriculture Training Centre

Duration: 12 months +

Location, Country: Manzini, Kingdom of Swaziland, Southern Africa

Expected Starting Date: Q3 2015

Brief Project Description: Founded in the late 1970s, this Youth Care projectis a nongovernmental organisation (NGO) that provides care in meeting the basic needs of food, shelter, education, training and life skills to marginalised young people at risk. In January 2014, this project, with the grateful support of the German Government, was granted a budget to construct a new Youth Agriculture Training Centre. The aim of the centre is to provide practical agriculture skills training programmes to Swazi nationals to enable them to become qualified self-employed farmers and to be agri business aware. Initial training programmes envisaged are: pig rearing, permaculture and bee-keeping. It is anticipated that the Youth Agriculture Training Centre project will become self-sustaining after three years. The farm consists of a total of 177 hectares which is currently non-productive. It is hoped to plan and develop mango/avocado orchards on part of the farm.

Organisational Context: The VC Volunteer Agriculturalist/Farm Manager will report to the director of the project and also to an advisory committee.

Type of Assignment Place: Assignment without family

Description of tasks: The VC Volunteer Agriculturalist/Farm Manager (reporting to the director of the project and also to an advisory committee) will under the following tasks:

  • Devising and implementing of a farm management plan (60ha) to ensure future sustainability
  • Mentoring / supervising current local farm staff
  • Assisting with the design, planning and implementation of certified practical modules in
    • pig rearing and management
    • permaculture
    • apiary related courses
  • Networking with local relevant stakeholders including Ministry of Agriculture.
  • Planning, designing and implementation (or teaching/lecturing) of practical/vocational agriculture based training courses.
  • Providing on going reporting and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of project
  • Other relevant tasks as required

Qualifications/Requirements:

  • Agricultural Science Degree from an accredited University /College or Equivalent qualification
  • Farm management experience; crop cultivation (to include permaculture and fruit) and animal production (especially pigs);
  • Experience in the planning, design and implementation (or teaching/lecturing) of practical/vocational agriculture based training courses.
  • Experience in mentoring / supervising
  • Fluency in English
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to work with a wide range of people in a respectful and collaborative manner
  • Good IT skills
  • Good understanding of development issues
  • Willingness to work with youth

Living Conditions: Modest with all facilities

Conditions of Service: A 12 month contract – other details TBC


Download VC Job Description in PDF: VC Job Description Swaziland Agriculturalist

Download Poster in High Resolution: Agriculturalist for Swaziland Poster


Contact information:

Viatores Christi
8 New Cabra Road,
Phibsboro,
Dublin 7

Tel. 00 353 1 8689986
www.viatoreschristi.com
info@viatoreschristi.com

James Murphy and I are Irish students studying at NUI Maynooth in Kildare. Our time at NUI Maynooth brought us into contact with the Salesian community of St Catherine’s and with the wider Salesian family in Ireland. Today we are proud to say that we are both residents of St Catherine’s hostel in Maynooth and are grateful for the kindness, friendship and hospitality the Salesian community have shown us during our time here.

It was through the Salesians that James and I became aware of INLINE. Encouraged by the enthusiasm and positive youthful energy we encountered when we came in contact with members of the INLINE team, the prospect of participating as foreign leaders greatly appealed to both of us. Under the guidance and assistance of our Salesian friends we found ourselves in the Czech Republic in July.

It proved a daunting experience we came face to face with a beautiful country, but one culturally very different to our own. However, similar to our experiences with the Salesians at home, we were warmly received and both hospitality and kindness were duly shown to us as we attempted to find our bearings during those early stages of our time in Czech.

Once we had settled the experience proved a deeply fulfilling one and one which has encouraged us to pursue further careers in the teaching of English as a foreign language. As for INLINE, it provided participants with an opportunity to immerse themselves in the English language in a safe, friendly and comfortable manner within an environment rooted deeply within the Salesian education structure.

It was fantastic to be a member of such an energetic, hardworking and friendly INLINE team who added so much extra to our experiences. So despite the fact that our INLINE experience, has, like all good things come to an end, we have both taken comfort in the knowledge that we have made friends for life.

Colm Egan.

When I was asked to write this article I thought it would be a simple enough task; I just had to give a brief summary of my experience here in India in around one thousand words. Well easier said than done. I think even if I had the scope of a novel to work with I could still never truly express what this experience has been like. While planning this essay I thought back to my first days here and it was a very surreal feeling as it felt almost as if I was remembering a completely different person than myself. I have experienced so much from that time to this I suppose it’s not surprising that the old me feels almost alien. So to try to explain what this experience has been like in a few paragraphs has actually turned out to be very difficult. However as I’ve been asked to describe my time here I suppose I may give it my best shot rather than merely discuss the impossibility of doing so. So here goes.

I am currently living and working in a very small rural village called Kuthenkuly, which is located on the very southern tip of India in Tamil Nadu. I have been here for over eight months now and will be here for another four. The project here is a polytechnic college which offers diplomas in five areas of engineering. It serves the local rural youth and offers an opportunity for higher education which was sorely lacking in the area. We are surrounded here by numerous small coastal villages where the majority of families just fish to survive. The vision behind this school is to give the rural youth an opportunity at economic development through technical training. We have over eleven hundred students enrolled in the college and we also have both boy’s and girl’s hostels where we care for two hundred and fifty young people. The hostels focus both on the academic development of the students and their social development. Here we organise various games, clubs, and countless feasts and programmes for the students as well as constantly mentoring them.

Here I teach English in both the college and hostels. It was quite daunting at first as I had no previous teaching experience but now I feel as I’ve been doing it for years. The enthusiasm of most of the students to learn is really extraordinary and they are so appreciative of any help you can give them. It’s not just for English that they show this enthusiasm but for anything new that you can teach them. They particularly love to learn new songs, games, or sports. So as my experience and passion lies in boxing I set up Kuthenkuly’s first boxing club in the hostel. Since September I have been training twenty boys every evening in the art of boxing. It’s a really great team and through the shared physical hardship of boxing training they have bonded very closely as a group. Likewise I have grown particularly close to this group and of all the activities I do here I have to admit I love this time the most. The boys have come on in leaps and bounds and are becoming very nice boxers. We are organizing a show for the end of this month for all the students to attend, and are hoping to secure proper fights for some of the boys next month. One boy in particular has become really passionate about the sport and jumps at any chance of private tuition I can give him, which I gladly provide at any opportunity. He also dedicates hours of his own free time drilling what he has learnt. He has a real natural talent for boxing and if he manages to continue training could become a really good boxer.

A large part of the time however my duty is merely to be a friend and mentor to the boys and girls and this in reality is more of a pleasure than a duty. When people ask me what is the highlight of India I don’t even have to think for a second about my answer, the people are undoubtedly what make India so special. I’ve been lucky to travel to and live in many other countries over the past ten years but I’ve never experienced a people like the Indians. The people of this area really struggle, the average wage for a labourer is less than fifty euro a month, and for this they will work all day every day. There’s also a severe shortage of water in the area as it is extremely dry and hot here, and power cuts happen every day often for hours at a time. Yet in spite of this the people are the most fun loving, jovial and affectionate people I’ve ever met. They’re also the most hospitable people you’re ever likely to meet. To have the pleasure of entering an Indian’s home is a treat you will never forget and is one I’m very fortunate to have experienced many times by now. They will treat you like royalty and while they may be very poor financially you can be sure they’ll manage somehow to feed you like a king.

My whole experience here has undoubtedly been the best experience of my life, however it hasn’t all been plain sailing and at one point was so challenging I was strongly considering leaving. Just as my mentor in SAVIO said it would happen, I spent my first few months just amazed at the novelty of everything but then during the middle months of my time here I really had a difficult time of it. The huge differences in culture between here and home and particularly the huge differences in money and equality really made me constantly question and re-question everything I experienced. I must have reassessed and reformulated my own beliefs and values so many times I couldn’t even try to keep track. This whole process was very stressful and uncomfortable at times and like I said I did consider leaving. The thought of leaving the boys however prevented me from doing so and I’m very relieved and delighted that I didn’t leave back then. This uncomfortable period eventually gave way to my most enjoyable period here. The last few months I have felt as if I’m in my second home. I have also come to look upon that difficult period as one of the major rewards of my time here. The process of reshaping my beliefs and values was stressful and uncomfortable but ultimately it has changed me undeniably and I like to think for the better. It’s the reason the old me feels a bit alien and thinking back to the person who arrived here in June I now feel a good bit wiser and more importantly I have a new firm conviction on what is truly important in life. I have taught my students English, boxing and hopefully some life skills and lessons but ultimately they have taught me so much more than I could hope to teach them.


David Byrne Art Gallery © 2015
Used with permission of David Byrne http://www.davidbyrneart.com

 

During the 2012/2013 academic year the staff and students of Salesian College Celbridge have been actively raising money for our sister school in Pallithammam, Tamil Nadu in South East India. Our school raised €1000 from a non uniform day with the proceeds of this going towards the development of the basic facilities in the children’s home where many of the student population reside during the school year.

During this year we set up a child sponsorship programme which was generously supported and resulted in the sponsorship of 21 secondary and 5 primary school students from extremely disadvantaged families.This money will insure that these students will have access to books, uniforms bed & board during the year.

We are very proud that our school community is engaging in this child sponsorship programme & we hope to continue with it in the future. We greatly appreciate all those who have kindly supported this programme & hope you will continue to do so in the future.


Gemma and Danielle in India 2012 from SAVIO on Vimeo.

Through BREADS partnership with Misean Cara and Ireland we are able to reach out to 20 rural villages and over 6000 people through a unique project that is providing essential healthcare services and promoting health and hygiene in Northern Karnataka, India.

Find out more about this and other life changing projects at: http://breadsbangalore.org

We’re on Globalgiving! Check out our project here: http://to.gg/breads

One weekend, no shower, a big field, silent discos n wellies, beer n hymns, mind blowing talks, musical liturgies, another world is possible, fears n dreams, it must be Greenbelt.

Another great video just arrived from BREADS. This shows their work in the Child Labour Mission in Davangere. Some SAVIO volunteers have already worked here.

Jan-June 2009 volunteer experience with the Salesians in Karnataka, India. These boys are ex-child labourers who live at this center, are given education, accommodation and all basic necessities in order to help restore their ‘lost childhood’.

Read more about the experience: Jane Mellett