INDIA: Salesian Missions donors provide funding for Don Bosco Academy of Music and Fine Arts to buy second-hand piano
The new piano allows 100 students at Don Bosco Academy greater access to learning a new instrument and practicing.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Jan. 4, 2019) Thanks to Salesian Missions donors, youth at the Don Bosco Academy of Music and Fine Arts have a new second-hand piano to further their music education. The academy, which is part of the Don Bosco Cultural Center, was founded in 2012 and is located in the Indian state of Kerala. Disadvantaged students can access free musical training through the academy. Currently, there are 100 students being trained in piano, keyboard, violin, guitar, drums, vocals and more.
In addition to regular educational lessons, Salesian missionaries teach music and the arts to help youth nurture their talents and become more well-rounded students. With the addition of the new piano, students are better able to learn how to play and practice their lessons.
Many Salesian schools offer arts programming. Some provide a school band as an organized school activity. Those who join the band have the opportunity to learn a new skill and engage with their peers. Organized band activities often replace idle time when students might engage in less healthy or productive activities. Participating in a band can bring structure to a student’s life while teaching valuable concepts like teamwork and collaboration.
“Participants become an integral part of the band’s larger community and find purpose in working together toward a common goal,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Students are able to choose the instrument they are most interested in and receive lessons, play the instrument in recitals and other events and build relationships with like-minded peers.”
India has the world’s fourth largest economy but more than 22 percent of the country lives in poverty. About 31 percent of the world’s multidimensionally poor children live in India, according to a new 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.
India’s youth face a lack of educational opportunities due to issues of caste, class and gender. Almost 44 percent of the workforce is illiterate and less than 10 percent of the working-age population has completed a secondary education. In addition, many secondary school graduates do not have the knowledge and skills to compete in today’s changing job market.
Child labor continues to be a serious issue in the country with more than 10 million children in the workforce, as reported by aid agencies. An estimated 11 million children live on the streets facing the daily horrors of rampant exploitation, forced labor, widespread substance abuse and physical violence. For many, it is difficult to imagine a better life.
Salesian missionaries living and working in India place special emphasis on rescuing and rehabilitating children engaged in child labor. There are Salesian-run programs throughout the country that have helped hundreds of thousands of vulnerable youth through the years, and this work continues today.
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