Salesian fathers of Don Bosco entered into Bidar Scenario in 2006 at the request of Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Robert Miranda. It was on 18th May 2006, that Fr. Saji [Fr. Manuel Puthiyaparambil] who came here as the firstSalesian [member of Salesian Congregation or religious organization having St. Francis de Sales as its patron ] to take charge of St. Joseph’s Composite PU College in Bidar. As the diocese was not having sufficient number of personnel, Fr. Saji was sent here to take charge of the above said college and improve its standard and discipline at the request of the Bishop. He was followed by Fr. Michael who came here on 23rd June 2006. Both fathers were staying at JeevanJyothi Boys’ Hostel at Shahapur Gate, till the Salesians found a suitable location at Chickpet to build their own house. The house was blessed and inaugurated on 9th November 2008.
All these years, Both fathers were very much involved in the pastoral and social activities of the Bidar Team of social workers and pastors. While Fr. Saji took care of the School and the college, Fr. Michael went around many villages, visiting various Women Sangas [Self Help Groups] and centres along with the Fathers and sisters. Fr. Saji too took time to visit some of the centres and took care of the Jesus Youth members most of whom were the nursing students of Bidar. Later on as the Youth Director the Diocese of Gulbarga, Fr. Michael was able to organize many camps and seminars for the youth especially in variouscentres of Bidar. He was also very much involved in the various community developmental activities of Don Bosco. As a very experienced person in the field of social work [Fr. Michael had been the member of a social NGO for many years before joining our organization], he was very much involved in the developmental programmes of the centre. He was also the advisor to the director regarding the various activities connected with the Child Labour eradication.
After the inauguration of the centre at Chickpet, the fathers moved their residence to the new place and were able to start a Child Labour Rehabilitation Centre in collaboration with the District Administration in a project supported by the Indian and Italian Governments and the ILO [International Labour Organization]. This residential centre was started in December 2008.
Fr. Varghese Chakkala the present Rector came to the Institute in May 2009. It was this year that the Salesians started a new project called SMILE[SOCIAL MOVEMENT FOR THE INTEGRATED LIVELIHOOD AND EMPOWERMENT] which saw the expansion of their service sector into community development through reaching out to some 20 villages in and around the city of Bidar.
The Year 2010 saw the coming of three more salesians into Bidar. They were Fr. Maria Vincent, Fr. Christhu Raj and Brother Stanly George. Fr. Maria Vincent replaced Fr. Saji as the principal of St. Joseph’s PU College of the diocese for 3 years and was transferred to Don Bosco, Chitradurga as the Principal of DonBosco PU college. Fr. Christu Raj took charge as the Adminitrator as well as the Principal of the Technical Centre which he was to start. His assiduous and hard work saw the birth of Don Bosco Institute of Technology in 2014 as the only ITI under NCVT approved and accredited by the QCI [Quality Council of India] in Bidar. The Centre is having 4 trades approved by the QCI namely Electrician, Fitter, Welder and Electronics System Management & Computer.
Fr. Michael was replaced by Fr. Maria Anand in the year 2012 as the youth Director of the Diocese of Gulbarga. Fr. Michael is presently the Vocation Promoter for Salesian province in the Region of Karnataka, residing at Don Bosco, Tumkur. Fr. Maria Anand continued at this post for just one year and was given the new role as the Social Animator at Don Bosco, Bidar in 2013. He held this post for one year [2013-14] and was promoted to be the Youth director of the Salesian Province of Bangalore for the Karnataka region.
After serving for 8 months as the Hostel warden for the Child Labour Rehabilitation Centre Bro. Stanly went to Don Bosco, Yadgir to pursue his higher studies. He was also the English Lecturer at Don Bosco Tech conducting English classes as well as classes on Soft skills under the MoRD Scheme. He was replaced by Bro. Joseph Dantavathi. As a hard worker, brother had already chalked our many innovative programmes for the welfare of the children including summer camps with a lot of creativity. Bro. Joseph was replaced by Bro. Albert who took care of the children at the Rehabilitation centre for one year. He was replaced by Br. John Paul who continued till May 2013.
There were just two Salesian personnel at Don Bosco, Bidar, in the year 2014-2015 namely: Fr. Varghese Chakkala as the Rector of the House as well as the Director of all the Social Welfare Programmes at Don Bosco and Fr. NilogalChristu Raj as the Vice Rector and the Administrator of the whole Don Bosco Centre as well as the principal of Don Bosco Institute of Technology, the ITI College under NCVT[Government of India]. It was in this year we had to borrow two clerics from the Benedictine order of Vallambrosans to take care of our boys. They were Bros. Jojo and Mathews.
The year 2015-16 saw the coming of three new salesian personnel to Bidar. Thus Fr. Davis Cherapanath replaced Fr. Christuraj as the new administrator while Fr. Andrew took charge of the ITI as its second principal. Bro. Arunkumar became the next warden of the Child Labour Rehabilitation centre.
In 2016-17 one more new salesian joined the community of DB Bidar. Fr. Steven Lawrenc replaced Fr. Davis Cherapanath as the new administrator and incharge of Chickpet mission. After the serving long nine years in DB Bidar Fr. Varghese transferred to Pavur near Kasaragod.
And 20118-19 Fr. James Paul replace Fr. Varghese as Rector and Director of Social Service Action Movement.
II. THE MILE STONES of DON BOSCO, BIDAR :
Year 2006: The beginning stages of Don Bosco in Bidar: The charge of St. Joseph’s PU Composite college, Shahapur Gate; Scouting around for a piece of land; Involvement in the social welfare programmes of CVTI[Carmel Vocational Training Isntitute] by Fr. Michael.
Beginning of 2007: Salesians staying in a rented house in BidarCity[a few months].
Year 2007-2008: Buying the land and construction of two buildings at the new Site.
December 2008: The Inauguration of the new Buildings as well as the starting of a Child Labour Rehabilitation centre at Don Bosco as a project received from the District Child Labour Rehabilitation society [Jointly funded by the ILO, Central Government of India and the Italian Government]. There was also the skill training under the same project for the siblings of the Child labourers namely Computer, Tailoring and Electrical and Electronics. These were mainly non-formal in nature.
May 2009: Fr. Varghese takes charge of the centre and the beginning of a Community Development programme called SMILE-1[SOCIAL MOVEMENT FOR THE INTEGRAL LIVELIHOOD AND EMPOWERMENT].
December 2009: The beginning of a new project called MCB [Missing Child Bureau]
May 2009: Beginning of skill training under MoRD(Ministry of Rural Development] [Project under DB Tech India: Registered society of all Don Bosco skill centres in India]; This saw the coming of many more trades to Don BoscoBidar, namely Sales and Marketing, Computer and ISMO[Industrial Sewing Machine Operator].
February 2010: Cessation of the Child Labour rehabilitation centre project by the Government and ILO , but continuation of the centre by Don Bosco.
October 2010: Starting of CHILDLINE 1098 as the COLLAB of the district of Bidar.
April 2011: Continuation of the Child Labour Rehabilitation Project under SCLP[State Child Labour Project] funded by the Department of Labour.
October 2011: Starting of SMILE -2 project that included two aspects: 1. Community development programmes in 20 villages and 2. the construction of DB Tech [ITI].
2012: Starting of short term courses sponsored by certain companies like Accenture, Quest Alliance, Sneider etc.
October 2012: Starting of CREAM [Child Rights Education and Action Movement] Project for the starting of Child Rights Clubs in rural schools andPanchayat Task Forces for the protection of Child Rights, in Bidar District.[3 years] & restarting of MCB[Missing Child Bureau].
January 2013: Starting of a Pastoral Project taking charge of a small Mission at Daddapur Village. The first Mission In Charge was Fr. Christuraj [2013-14] and it was taken care of by Fr. Maria Anand [2014-15]. Fr. Varghese takes charge of this mission today [2015-16].
August 2014: Approval of the ITI College by the QCI and the starting of 4 courses under NCVT.
November 2014: Inauguration & Blessing of a newly built Chapel at Daddapur.
In all these years the short term courses continued at the centre with good intake from the villages and job placement.
December 2014:The Completion of SMILE-2 project.
June 2015: Cessation of SCLP for Child Labour Rehabilitation Centre [all over Karnataka].
December 2015: The Completion of CREAM Project.
May 2016: The starting of CREAM II Project.
June 2018: The beginning of Adult literacy programme.
In March 2019 we have just Six main projects running at Don Bosco, Chickpet, Bidar. 1. Don Bosco ITI 2. Non-Formal short term courses under Quest Alliance and Sneider 3. Child Labour Rehabilitation Centre 4. Missing Child Bureau 5. Childline 1098 and 6.The Adult literacy programme. 7. The chickpet Mission.
III. THE CURRENT PROGRAMMES AT DON BOSCO :
1. CHILD LABOUR REHABILITATION CENTRE
a. The Situation of Child Labour
India has got the highest number of child Labourers in the world. According to the 2001 Census, there are about 12.7 million child Labourers in India! The highest number of child Labourers are in Uttar Pradesh, about 1.93 million. While It is about 1.36 million in Andhrapradesh, it is 0.86 million in Karnataka. It has the 7th highest rank among the states having child Labourers.
Although Child Labour has been banned in Karnataka through The Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986, as per 1991 Census, child labourer percentage to child population is 8.7% in Karnataka and it comes to 9.76 lakhs. In 1991, out-of-school children in Karnataka were 26 lakhs. But, as per the recent survey conducted by the Department of Education, number of out-of-school children in Karnataka came down to 10.53 lakhs, between the age group of 6 to 14 years. Hence, the number of child labourers also might have come down. However, the exact number of child labourers would not be known unless the survey is conducted. As per the survey of 1997, the child labourers identified were 40,529 in manufacturing and other units.
b. The Child Labour Eradication Project
Government of India had started in 1998-99, what was known as the National Child Labour Project [NCLP], for the effective eradication of Child Labour in India. The 9th Plan in India had envisaged and approved some 100 NCLP Projects for the eradication of the same in different parts of India. It was in 2006 that the International Labour Organization [ILO] had approved for a three year project for the eradication of Child Labour in Chamaraj Nagar and Bidar in partnership with the Central Government, State Government and the Government of Italy [the Funding partner]. Don Bosco, Bidar was able to get the last year of this project from the District Administration after a long struggle in December 2008. Although this project was closed in May 2009, Don Bosco managed to continue the Rehabilitation centre till 2011 and later the SCLP project was given to it by the district Administration. This was stopped by June 2015. The Centre is still being run by Don Bosco, Bidar with the help of some of the benefactors and well-wishers.
Again2018-19 the Government of Karnataka sanctioned another year of State child labourprogramme to Don Bosco, Bidar. This project allowed around 30 children to keep in the institution. Already we had another 30 school going children in the institution. During the year under this project we were catering around 60 school dropout children and child labourers.
c. Some Data on the Project
Through this project, a Bridge course is being conducted for the rescued child labourers who were formerly working in various garages, hotels, shops or grazing cows, buffalos, goats and sheep and who were also school drop outs and place them back into the schools. During the time of ILO project, the centre was able to train some 94 Child Labourers and mainstream them into schools. A follow up ofthese children is done through the social workers. At present there are 28 children at the centre undergoing the above training.
d. The Dynamics of the Programme
There are specialcounselling sessions for the children as well as for their families at the time of admission as well as during the training period. The whole family is tried to be involvedinto this project. It is a residential programme for one year. The mission is to create an educational atmosphere where the children experience plenty of love and care as well as opportunities to develop themselves before moving on to their families and schools.
Many innovative methods have been designed for this ministry: A House system [includes various games, small responsibilities, study and behaviour changes etc.], yoga and meditation, Prayer sessions, Music and Dance classes, walks, Picnics, Karate classes, and regular classes in a creative style. A special curriculum has been designed for their study. As the children are coming from a very poor background, we have to provide them everything free of cost. There are two full time teachers, a Hostel Warden and a cook have been employed for this programme. All fathers are also very much involved in this project. At the end of this year, there is the hope to mainstream about 10 children into various schools.
e. SOME MAJOR EVENTS of LAST YEAR [2018-19]:
i. The Festivals & Celebrations: Feast of Don Bosco; Republic Day; Independence Day; Birth-Days of the children & staff.
ii. Inauguration of the New Scholastic year:
iii. International Anti-Child Labour Day
iv. InternationalWomens’ Day
v. Summer Camp
vi. World Environmental Day
vii. Dusserah Special Camp
viii. Chidlren’s Day
ix. Participation at the NammaChitthaMakkalatha Inauguration at Civil Court.
x. Sports Day
xi. Christmas Day
xii. Street Plays at different villages
xiii. Weekly Outings & Walks.
xiv. Monthly Picnics
xv. Participation at Don Bosco Bicentenary Celebrations
xvi. Parents gatherings
xvii. Child rights club Meetings
xviii. Movies, Dance classes, Prayer Meetings etc.
xix. Various Cultural competitions, party Games, Quiz Competitions etc.
xx. Bhajanothsava( Bhajan competition for various churches)
xxi. Volley ball tournament in view of DON BOSCO’s feast.
xxii. Summer camps
2. MISSING CHILD BUREAU [MCB]
The Salesians have been asked by the Nodal Agency BOSCO in Bangalore to be the collaborators in the Missing Child Bureau and Missing Child Search in the District of Bidar in December 2010. An office had been set up for the project with its own computer and Internet connection etc. Various awareness programmes for the villages in different parts of Bidar were organized with different types of media tools. Once the Pilot project had been a great success, the Government has asked BOSCO, the nodal Agency to start the MCBs as part of the State Government Programme in different districts of Karnataka. The MCB coordinator was also given an office in the Government settings. Bidar MCB is presently working from the office of the DCPO.
Although There is just one Coordinator working full time on this project, the result is very good. The work of the MCB, Bidar could be summed up in these lines:
Awareness programmes on the Missing Children as well as the on the Unaccompanied Children in the 5 Talukas of Bidar namely: Bidar, Aurad, Humnabad, Bhalki and Bhasavakalyan.
Awareness programmes were launched for the following:
1. College/school teachers
3. Anganwadi personnel
4. Students of various schools and colleges
5. Police Personnel
6. Priests and the religious
7. Social Animators of various NGOs.
The data regarding the missing children as well as that of the unaccompanied children were uploaded onto the Home Link Software through the net and the process of tracing the children has been already underway.
- SKILL TRAINING PROGRAMME UNDER THE MINISTRY OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT [MoRD] AND BOSCO TECH INDIA :
This is an addition to the above projects. BOSCO TECH INDIA [a registered society with the membership of all the Don Bosco Technical centres in India] has been able to rope in some 4 projects for the whole of Don Bosco India for the transformation of the Rural youth. Accordingly we were asked to provide technical skills to some 40,000 youngsters by 2012. Don BoscoBidar had been also chosen to be part of this big project where rural youth were imparted various job skills through MES [Modular Employment Schemes] training programmes free of cost. They were also trained in spoken English as well as in soft skills. The programme was aimed at giving 80 % or more job placements to the trainees by the end of 3 month courses. Don Bosco, Bidar had already launched this programme on 15th July 2010. The training was already given in 3 trades namely: Computer [ITES], Tailoring [ISMO: Industrial Sewing Machines] and in Sales and Marketing [Retail Industry]. It was able to impart free training to more than 300 rural youngsters hailing from about 25 villages in the district of Bidar with BPL cards. About 61% of these youngsters were placed on various jobs in Hyderabad, Bangalore and elsewhere. Although this programme has already come to an end in 2012, a similar programme is already running at Don Bosco, in a tie up with some companies like Accenture, Quest Alliance and Sneider.
- Skill Training under ITI :
Don Bosco ITI has been started in 2014 with a view to give skill training to rural youth of Bidar at a very affordable fee structure. One of the best Workshops in the district, a group of qualified and dedicated staff, and a host of regular training schedules focusing on both the job requirements as well as life requirements. There are 4 trades at the Centre now, namely: 1. Electrician 2. Fitter
3. Welder and 4. Information Technology & Electronic System Management.
Classes in soft skills and Spoken English would help the students to face various challenges of life. Timely training of the staff too is aimed at the qualitative formation of the students. The job placement cell at the ITI college has already placed many a student who have completed the courses on various possible jobs. Motivation classes too are a must for the candidates to stay on the jobs at least for a period.
Once the course is over, the candidates receive an NCVT[National Certificate in Vocational Training] from the Department of Industrial Training, Government of India, which is valid inside and outside India.
Childline 1098 is a Nation-wide movement for any child who needs care and protection. The toll free call from 1098 brings in immediate help, support and consolation to millions of children across India. Thus emotional support and help through timely counseling, emergency medical help, emergency sponsorship, restoration and shelter are some of the ways through which vulnerable children have been helped. They include children on the street, child labourers, children who have been abused physically or sexually, those who have been trafficked, those who have been forced into child marriage, those who have been forced into prostitution, those who have lost their homes and the physically and mentally challenged children.
Although it was started by a certain woman named Jeru Billy Moria in Mumbai, now it has been adopted by the ICPS [Integrated Child Protection Scheme] under the aegis of MWCD [Ministry of Women & Child Development], Central Government of India.
Don Bosco, Bidar had been chosen as the Collaborative Agency for the CHILDLINE project in the district of Bidar by Childline India Foundation already in February 2010. But the work for CHILDLINE could begin only in October 2010. There are 3 sub-centres and 1 Nodal Agency in the district of Bidar for this project. Childline India Foundation has got more than 300 centres all over India on the Job as the partners in CHILDLINE. In Bidar, Don Bosco is in Charge of the Toll Free connection1098 for the free call for any child in distress needing care and protection. There are 6 team members, one counselor, one volunteer and a coordinator on the job for 24 hours a day and for 7 days a week at Don Bosco. The work for the children needing care and protection has resulted in innumerable campaigns against Child Labour, Child Abuse and Child Marriage in the district of Bidar. Through various programmes like OPEN HOUSE, Child Rights Clubs, Reach Out programmes, Street Plays etc. we were able to bring a real change in the district of Bidar on the safety of the children, as well as care and protection for those who need them. Hundreds of children were given special and timely help like sponsorship, restoration, medical help, shelter etc. Many child Marriages have been stopped with the help of the Government machinery and with the cooperation of the people; Many children were rescued from child abuse; Physically challenged children were given special nutrition; those dropped out from the schools were put back into schools with real motivation and counselling; Child labourers were also given special counseling and motivation and were rehabilitated; Yet there are a lot more to be achieved on this front.s
The awareness campaign has been already set in a tone for the work in the district of Bidar. Now any child in distress due to child labour, abuse, negative circumstances can turn towards the toll free number 1098 and get immediate care and protection.
The mission at Daddapur, a village, some 12 kms from Bidar, was begun by the Salesians in 2012. Although visiting of the families from October 2012 onwards, the pastoral project as such was begun only in January 2013. It was one certain Yesappa who invited to visit his families and gradually accept those families into the Catholic. Presently baptized Yesappa&Neelammaonlyhave been baptised. Catechesis is going on to receive others into Catechumenate by this Easter .
2018-19 Regular visits to the families, regular Sunday Eucharist, Weekly Catechesis, Weekly adoration, Weekly Bhajan etc., are some of the regular features of the Mission. Bibles were distributed to the individuals while Bible Summer Camps were also organized for the children. The families were taken to Kavadiyal for special prayer experience many a time. Recollections for the peoplehave been organised in the seasons of Advent and Lent. Two annual retreat was arranged for the people of Daddapur. This year we have appointed an catechist Mr. James to visit families and identify anther new villages. And we have found two more villages like Nemithabad and Mamankere where we visit once in a week to animate people through prayer and Bhajans.
While spiritual preparations were underway, it has been tried to bring in some social transformations too in their lives through family counseling and individual counseling. The timely medical help to some of them also must have been a great support for them during this journey of faith. It is also being tried to introduce Adult education among them so that the basic education might help them to go forward in their lives. Some timely awareness on social evils has already reduced drinking habit among some of them.
IV. VARIOUS CHALLENGES OF TODAY [2018-19]:
1. The stopping of SCLP funding for the running of Child Labour Rehabilitation Centre.
2. Lack of decent hostel facilities for ITI students
3. Lack of residential facilities for the Salesian religious Community members.
4. Lack of residential facilities for the ITI staff.
5. Lack of steady income for the Salesian Community maintenance.
6. Inability to start building the campus chapel due to process of land conversion.
Don BoscoBidar aims at the integral development of the society achieved through the Integral development of the human person. This programme can become successful only through a real participative strategy involving all the people. According to the various projects at Don Bosco, the children needing care and protection become the focal point of all our activities. While the Child Labour Rehabilitation centre takes care of any child who is brought there for care and protection, the CHILDLINE takes care of all rescue operations as well as the motivational and awareness programme for the public on the negative effects of Child Labour, Child Abuse, Child Marriage and the need to understand Child Rights, etc. The Missing Child Bureau takes care of all the activities and programmes connected with the searching, tracing and recording of all the missing and unaccompanied cases of children in Bidar. The community development activities in villages too actually give priority to families so that the child could be protected and taken care of. Child Rights Project works for the awareness among the children and the adults on Child Rights and the need to fight against anyone who violates the rights of a child. The Technical skill Training projects too indirectly supports the growth of the child and motivates him or her for better achievements in life.
Don Bosco ITI College
Principal: Fr. Vimal Andrew SDB 8050845020