INDIA: Salesian-run Amalarakkini School for the Blind has new chapel thanks to Salesian Missions donors
The new chapel will be a source of spiritual support to students and teachers right on the campus.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Nov. 12, 2020) Students attending the Salesian-run Amalarakkini School for the Blind have a new chapel thanks to Salesian Missions donors. Amalarakkini School for the Blind is located in the town of Tiruvannamalai in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. Prior to the construction of the chapel, students and teachers had to be transported by hired vans to weekly Catholic Mass, which was very costly. The new chapel will be a source of spiritual support to these students right on their campus.
Amalarakkini School for the Blind is a residential school established in 1980 to provide education, rehabilitation, life skills and vocational training skills for children who have visual impairments. Salesian missionaries help these young students have independence and a better quality of life.
Students attending the school are from the northern region of Tamil Nadu, covering the districts of Tiruvannamalai, Vellore, Villupuram, Chennai, Krishnagiri, Salem, Chengalpattu, Dharmapuri and Thiruvallur. The early intervention center of the school provides education for children up to 6 years old and prepares them for basic education and daily living skills. There are also home-based extension services for parents to help assist them with their children.
The Amalarakkini School also has a higher secondary school for the blind, which is well-equipped with special aids for students with visual impairments, a library filled with Braille books and specially trained teachers. The school also has a trained mobility instructor who teaches mobility skills. Students are able to access regular academic courses, in addition to physical education and orientation and mobility training.
“We are grateful to our donors who have provided Amalarakkini School for the Blind a new chapel on school grounds so students and teachers no longer have to travel for church services,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Youth with disabilities have the same ability to achieve as their peers if given the opportunity. Salesian missionaries in programs around the globe initiate projects that pave the way for advanced research, learning and innovation that help aid inclusion of people with disabilities.”
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.
Access to professional training and workforce development services is highly valued by youth in India. The country, which is home to 1.34 billion people (18 percent 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 world’s largest youth population, it has yet to capitalize on this, leaving some 30 percent of this population without employment, education or training.
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 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.
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