Which is better Mysore or Mangalore
Travel impressions from the Indian states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh - HDZ is committed to the Don Bosco Mission
The Indian government estimates that 40 million children work in India. One of the causes is the poverty of the parents, who are dependent on the additional income of the children to support the family. Another cause is the greed of some entrepreneurs: children are cheap labor and they cannot yet sue for rights. Her small hands are skillful and particularly suitable for tasks such as knotting carpets or making matchboxes. The negative consequences of child labor are manifold:
Children's health is often permanently damaged if they inhale dust or chemical substances in factories. Sitting in front of looms for long periods of time leads to poor posture. If children in hotels are exploited as employees without free time, this also results in psychological damage. What is crucial, however, is that child workers do not go to school and therefore can hardly escape the cycle of total poverty. As an adult, you will not be able to find a job that can support a family.
The Gulbarga child labor center
There are 822,000 working children in the south-west Indian state of Karnataka, which has a population of 56 million (2002 census). In Gulbarga alone, a city with 523,000 inhabitants, 10,000 child laborers were counted. They either work in agriculture, in garbage dumps, or in the streets, trying to find salable items from waste. They can also be found in quarries or brickworks, as domestic servants or simply as day laborers in markets. They try to do all possible auxiliary services to get a few rupees.
The Salesians of Don Bosco have been working in the region since 2002 with the aim of rehabilitating street children and child laborers in such a way that they can complete a school leaving certificate and vocational training and thus support their families more sustainably than through the auxiliary services required of them when they were children. So far they have been able to help 1,500 children. This was done through measures such as one-year boarding courses or remedial classes
The day of the project visit in Gulbarga falls on the Indian Diwali festival and on Children's Day. We take part in a celebration that shows in a particularly beautiful way what Don Bosco's pedagogy means. First, the older boys perform a dance. They have skilfully rehearsed a choreography for modern rock music. You move powerfully yet disciplined. Dance is a good means of perceiving yourself and integrating it into a group. Then the birthday is celebrated. Because most of the children who live in Gulbarga do not know when they were born. There is a cake that says "Happy Birthday" and each child receives a piece of cake that is presented to them personally. It also gets a new Don Bosco T-shirt. Then Diwali is celebrated. It's already dark. The children go outside and are allowed to light sparklers and some fireworks. You can be a real child. The fun and exuberance is also a joy for the audience. Then they gather again in their lounge before they go to sleep and calm returns. The next day the children of the evening school centers, including girls, are included in the festival. There is a competition: who will paint the most beautiful picture? The three most successful drawings will be awarded a prize. In a ceremony, the winners receive small gifts and dances are performed again here. Afterwards there is a warm meal for everyone.
The Salesians in Gulbarga have so far carried out all of these activities from a small center that houses the children as well as the Salesians themselves and the necessary offices. The children work, eat and sleep in the same room.
The aid organization of German dentists is now supporting the construction of a new center with more opportunities for children and young people and sufficient infrastructure for the support of the various activities. There have been delays in obtaining building permits, but construction is now underway. In the new center, the children will have more space to develop. The bedrooms and work rooms will be separated.
The street children's center Warangal
Warangal is a 3 hour drive north from Hyderabad.
With 620,000 inhabitants, it is the fifth largest city in Andhra Pradesh.
The Salesian branch comprises a parish, a secondary school, a vocational training center, all of which are located just outside the city, as well as a center for children and young people in risk situations near the Warangal train station.
The center was built in 2006 with the help of the German Dental Association and has 3 floors. The center looks bright and friendly and is full of life. Father Joseph has two lay workers who help shape the work in this center: Santosh as “Program Manager” and Charitanya as coordinator. Santosh is an ex-alumno of the Salesian street children project in Vijayawada, i.e. a former street child. In the center he organizes advanced training courses for girls who have no vocational training and who would like to contribute to the family income later on. Some of them were freed from exploitative work in hotels or factories and are now happy to be able to learn a trade that will later enable them to pursue a regular job. There are 30 girls who have been taking computer courses for a month. You will practice Word and other programs in the Office package, giving you the chance of a job as a secretary. 45 girls are learning the tailoring trade. There are cooperation plans with a company that hires embroiderers. Bridging courses are also offered for children who used to be begging, who come from the nomadic people of the Chenchus and otherwise have no access to education.
The aid organization of German dentists also helped expand a secondary school in Warangal. In other Indian federal states there are other school projects that were financed by the German Dentists Aid Organization. The Salesians of Don Bosco in India have one of their most important partners in helping children and adolescents lead a successful life with the aid organization of German dentists. We thank the head of the department, Dr. Klaus Winter, his family and all donors warmly.
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