INDIA: Funding helps support poor children and empower women
Women and children at the Mary Our Help Training Center Bellefonte receive support thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (May 3, 2022) Women and children at the Mary Our Help Training Center Bellefonte, in Shillong, India, received support thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. Donor funding provided a number of activities to support poor children and empower women.
The training center offers free tutoring and classes every day from 1 to 5:30 p.m. to help children with their studies. The young students who attend often have illiterate parents, lack working electricity at home, or are experiencing other family problems and need the extra support. After the tutoring and classes are provided, a meal is served for the children.
The center also provides scholarship funding for the poorest children in remote villages who have no other opportunity to attend school. Salesian sisters provided the financial means for these children to be placed in local schools and provide for their basic needs while in school.
Donor funding also provided a distribution of rice to 30 families that have elderly family members or mothers who are disabled and in need of help. Once a month, these families are able to come to the center and receive 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of rice to help feed them.
In support of families, Salesians held a parents’ meeting and distributed food and supplies. Sister Elizabeth Thannimottil gave an introductory talk to all the parents and children. Parents took an active part in the meeting and shared their feelings and words of appreciation with the Salesian sisters who are always ready to help them with their needs.
During the meeting, Sister Bahun Merilyn Wahlang, a nurse, gave a talk about continued prevention during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sr. Wahlang stressed the importance of hand-washing, cleanliness, and healthy nutrition to help fight the virus and other diseases.
At the end of the program, lunch was served for everyone. Before parents left the meeting, they were provided with a packet of rice, dhal and potatoes. A Salesian sister noted, “Both parents and children went home happily and joyously carrying their gifts to prepare another meal at home with other members of their families. We wished them a safe journey back home and assured them of our daily prayers.”
More than 22 percent of India’s population 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 one who lacks at least one-third of 10 indicators, grouped into three dimensions of poverty: health, education and standard of living.
Salesian programs across India are primarily focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education in the country helps youth prepare for later technical, vocational or university study. Other programs help to support poor youth and their families by meeting the basic needs of shelter, proper nutrition and medical care.
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