Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: April 15, 2024

INDIA: Salesian Missions funds project to help support migrant children

Children attend study centers, receive health and nutrition services.

NEW ROCHELLE, NY (April 15, 2024) Salesian missionaries with Bosco Vikas Gramin Kendra were able to support children in migrant communities in the Central Maharashtra region of India thanks to funding from Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco.

Salesians note that internal migration in India to the Maharashtra region is high. The needs of children are often overlooked as parents come to the major cities in search of work and a better life. Migrants make up several working sectors including construction, hospitality, manufacturing, transportation, and services, occupying roles ranging from laborers to domestic workers, drivers, and security guards.

Education, health care and social integration become obstacles for migrant youth. The transient nature of migrant life erects barriers to education, compelling youth to navigate a maze of school enrollments amid frequent relocations, often destabilizing their educational journey.

“To address these challenges, Salesians in Ahmednagar launched a project for youth in migrant communities,” explained Father Michael Conway, director of Salesian Missions. “We were happy to fund such a worthwhile project that focused on education, health care, better living conditions, healthy food, and inclusivity, ensuring youth had their needs met and had hope for a brighter future.”

The project encouraged children from the migrant communities to attend study centers for various sports activities. This brought youth in the door and allowed them to access the other services being offered, including classes. In six project hamlets, study classes were held on a regular basis. A total of 193 boys and girls were enrolled and studied math and language. At the conclusion of each month, tests were administered to assess progress. The monthly evaluations were then shared with the students. Special additional care and attention were provided to those who needed help.

Nutrition was also provided for 200 youth, who were able to have at least one healthy meal a week thanks to the project funding. Salesians also held programs to inform parents about the importance of healthy nutrition. Parents were able to attend sessions that informed them of other services available to them. Salesians covered 12 programs that parents could access including health insurance, financial aid and nutritional support. More than 2,300 people attended these sessions.

Health screening was an important part of the project. Salesians held 12 health awareness programs for migrant children and the community. There were educational sessions provided on personal health and hygiene practices. During a health camp, youth were screened for vaccinations and diseases such as Dengue fever and malaria. Following the examinations, medicines were provided as needed.

India’s youth face a lack of educational opportunities due to issues of caste, class and gender. Almost 44% of the workforce is illiterate and less than 10% 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.


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