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Don Bosco India Forges Green Alliance
By Father Noel Maddhichetty
Mumbai, Dec. 2. DIMAPUR: Salesian delegates meeting for the 2017 Annual Provincial Development Official (PDO) meet in AIDA, Dimapur on November 30 and  December 1 agreed to partner with four flagship programmes at the national level that focus on climate change, child rights, aiding stakeholders to make sustainable livelihoods and women empowerment programmes.
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The flagship projects would be designed into standard patterns of interventions by the PDO network to replicate them among the pan India Don Bosco partners in the future. The delegates reached a consensus to focus on the Don Bosco Green Alliance, a campaign to combat climate change.

Child Rights Promotion and Protection was also highlighted as a pressing issue that needed intervention. Agricultural Skill Training for sustainable livelihood, including Organic farming, was the third programme that was stressed upon and finally women empowerment programmes were also singled out as essential.

The delegates were warmly welcomed on November 30 with a traditional Naga dance performed by the students in the AIDA centre. Father Nestor Guria, Provincial of Dimapur gave a keynote address, quoting the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus himself was concerned about the poor and needy. Don Bosco followed His spirit in shaping and moulding children and youth as good human beings and responsible citizens.

Father Maria Arokiam Kanaga, Regional Councillor for South Asia, sent a message to urge the directors of the PDO, to bring about a paradigm shift in their educational institutions. He asserted the need to take up eco-based education and create love in our students for nature.

''In the secular world, development in general refers to industrial development and building up of real estate, in the bargain, aggravating the divide between the rich and the poor and ruining the natural ambient around them,'' Father Kanaga, said.

''For us, called to be prophets, mystics and servants, it should have quite a different meaning. It has to be in keeping with the Gospel vision of society and along the lines of Laudato S, caring for our common home of Pope Francis. Development has to respect God, man and nature.''

''Even our well run educational institutions, unwittingly have been producing largely good servants of this capitalistic, market oriented, money centred system. We have not taught them to go back to nature, to the Garden of Eden, which is actually the paradise for which God created us, where there is harmony between God, man and nature.  So, we need to make a paradigm shift now. In all our educational institutions, we need to take up eco-based education, and create love in our students for nature.''

Father Noel Maddichetty, Director of BoscoNet, exhorted the participants to synergies the forces in the network to campaign and intervene as one force of Don Bosco India, with strategies, which will stimulate the social transformation of youth and marginalised people.

Babloo, founder of Human Rights Alert, Manipur took the first session on the ground situation in the North East regarding human rights and related issues pertaining to the shrinking of democratic space in our times.

Father Savio Silveira, Vice Provincial of the Salesian province of Mumbai and pioneer of Greenline Movement, presented care and concerns regarding environmental issues and how to preserve and protect the environment. His presentation prompted a discussion which converged into a consensus to forge the Don Bosco Green Alliance and educate young people to prevent climate change and create a safer climate for them in the future.

Thomas Fernandez, Deputy Manager for Sriram Finance shared with the audience about various Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) opportunities. PDO Directors presented the special projects and shared their best practices in the provinces.

Father Xavier Packiam, the coordinator of the provincial economers' network presented some of the administrative and accounting procedures to update the administration standards of the provincial development offices.

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