Campus aims to be an educational model for ecology – MissionNewswire
Don Bosco Youth Institute cultivates land for fruit trees, spices and medicinal plants
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries with the Don Bosco Youth Institute in Karjat, India, cultivated land and planted fruit trees, spices and medicinal plants. Don Bosco Youth Institute, a vocational training center for poor youth, is located on a 67-acre property. Most of this property is hilly terrain, which has patches of thorny bushes that often catch fire in the hot summer season. For several years this property was left unused and sterile.
All activities stopped at the Don Bosco Youth Institute during the COVID-19 closures. With no students in the workshops or the hostel, the Salesian community decided it was time to do something productive with the land.
To raise funds for the project, the Salesian missionaries launched the campaign “Care for creation – I will plant a forest” and invited donors to sponsor a plant. In return, the Salesians offered them free camping facilities for two days, which the donor and his families could use twice a year for three years.
Several donors have come forward and have dedicated large areas of the land to their loved ones. As a result, the Salesians created a flower valley, made up of 33 varieties of flowering plants and two mini-forests with almost all the native trees of the region. The property also provides employment for a few people from the local tribal villages. To date, there are 7,323 trees planted including fruit trees, forest trees, spice plants, bamboo and flowering plants. The Salesians aim to reach 10,000.
“The planting of over 7,000 trees has been an important achievement and an enriching experience for us,” said Fr Anthony Santarita of the Don Bosco Youth Institute. “We want to make our campus an educational model for ecology, as recommended by the Rector Major in his post-Chapter Reflection of GC 28.”
Salesian programs across India are mainly focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education helps young people prepare for further technical, vocational or university studies. Other programs help support poor youth and their families by meeting basic needs for shelter, good nutrition and medical care.
Access to vocational training and workforce development services is highly valued by young people in India. The country, home to 1.34 billion people (18% of the world’s population), will have overtaken China as the world’s most populous country by 2024, according to the World Economic Forum. While India has the largest youth population in the world, it has yet to take advantage of it, leaving around 30 percent of that population without jobs, education or training.
India has the world’s fourth-largest economy, but over 22% of the country lives in poverty. About 31 percent of the world’s multidimensionally poor children live in India, according to a report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. A multidimensionally poor child is a child who lacks at least one third of the 10 indicators, grouped into three dimensions of poverty: health, education and standard of living.
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Salesian missions – India
World Bank – India