It all began with a friendly call from Vimala Meena from Turin. Tell me a bit about what are you busy at Dahanu? A few email communications and soon Vimala and Enrico chose two projects: Bicycles for young working boys and girls and a book for the blind.
Dahanu is a coastal town and a municipal council in Palghar district of Maharashtra state in Konkan division. It is located 110 km from Mumbai city. Marathi and Sindhi, Gujarati and Hindi are the most used languages. Dahanu has become a major commercial and industrial town in Palghar district. It is well known for its chikoos and for other products. Dahanu is esteemed for its friendly atmosphere of nature and friendly people. It has become a famous tourist spot. According to the census of 2011, Dahanu has a population of 1,27,000 males that comes to 52% of the population and 48% of females.
Education at Dahanu
Dahanu is blessed with Schools and Colleges. In every village we find a small School where in most cases one single teacher offers lessons for all the students from class 1-4.
From 2008 the Salesian Sisters have opened a community at Dahanu. There are a number of Adivasi villages around the community. The Adivasis at Dahanu are very dear persons and they work very hard. The Sisters are involved in the parish ministry, and in the villages around. They offer coaching classes and the students are very committed and motivated.
The Adivasis are simple, gentle people who work very hard to make a living. They live on the margins. The poverty doesn’t permit them to have many possibilities. The children are clever but most of them are forced to leave their studies and begin to work. The fact that many of them walk for hours to reach their place of work touched us deeply.
The aim of the Bicycle Project
The aim of the project is to equip 50 young working people with bicycles. The distance that the young people were walking was beyond human understanding. We are sure that by offering them bicycles they will learn a life of responsibility and commitment and gradually reach out to others.
The positive effect of the bicycle project on the population
In October 2016, the Sisters started the General Duty Assistant Course for the needy young people. The students have many hours of practical training in various hospitals and they have to walk a lot as other means of transportation cost much. A bicycle can facilitate the movement from one place to another and the work in the medical field requires certain promptness.
Auxilium Youth Animation Centre rocks with the great news of cent percent result of the first Batch of twenty eight General Duty Assistant (GDA) students. They get Job Placement in different hospitals in Dhanu and Mumbai.
It was really excruciating to see number of young Adivasi boys and girls walking hours to reach their place of work/study. Today 14 February, thanks to the financial support from our young friends from Turin, we saw 32 youngsters with a broad smile as they ride on their bicycles...
This is a tangible sign of translating into action No.16 of the Final Statement of the XXXIII CBCI General Body Meeting: “to work for the protection and integral development of the Tribals and Other Backward Classes (OBC’s) and to take special initiatives for the relief and welfare of farmers, fisher folk, migrants and other deprived and exploited communities by providing care, comfort and hope to them in their distress.”
This was fruit of a joint initiative of the CBCI Office for Dialogue and Ecumenism together with the FMA Province of Bombay, Sr. Meenakshi D’Silva & the Community of Auxilium Youth Animation Centre, Dahanu.
Our special thanks to Enrico the president of New Life Group, to Vimala Meena our friend and to the Catholic Churh of Turin.
Reported by Teresa Joseph fma