It is easier to prepare a child than to repair an adult
The work of Don Bosco Veedu Society is focused around four centres – the Don Bosco Nivas Care Home, the Don Bosco centre, the Don Bosco Veedu centre and the women and child help centre.
I arrived at Trivandrum Central Station from serene Kovolam and headed straight to their women and child help centre. Conveniently located on platform 2 of the station itself, I learnt that this center had been opened in partnership with the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Government Railway Police. The center provides emergency assistance, care and protection to deprived women and children who arrive at Trivandrum.
Trivandrum Don Bosco Veedu Society is part of the international Don Bosco network which is a Christian organisation that works in 131 countries around the world. They work with young people who are in poverty, abandoned and at risk; and believe that doing this work strengthens their relationship with the Lord. St. John Bosco is remembered as a man who dedicated his life to the service of abandoned young people. Over 150 years ago, he challenged the way young people were treated in the desperate poverty that existed at that time in the city of Turin, Italy. Others were inspired to follow him in responding to the needs of the young. Don Bosco centres around the organisation’s three operating principles – Reason, Religion and Kindness.
Within the organisation, there are possibilities for volunteers in the administration section of Don Bosco. Volunteers would also be helpful to promote the NGO and increase awareness. Unfortunately it is difficult for volunteers to have a meaningful effect in the communities due to local language barriers.
Rewards and Recognition
Primarily through the efforts of society combined with the active intervention of the Judiciary, Social Welfare Department, Police and Local Government, Trivandrum district was declared as a child beggary free district by the Government in January 2007. It is the first district in Kerala to be declared so. This is a major achievement for Don Bosco as they carried out a study in 1994 and there were approximately 2,000 children living on the streets then. Now, in 2014, this number is minimal and there are almost none.
This was apparent during my visit compared to the rest of India; I saw no children begging or on the streets during the day. This survey in 1994 inspired the government to set up more shelter homes in Kerala and since then, Don Bosco has been supporting the government in this role and providing assistance.