Salvatorian Family Sisters of the Divine Savior (SDS) Society of Divine Savior (SDS) International Community of Divine Savior (ICDS)

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2 Salvatorian Family Sisters of the Divine Savior (SDS) Society of Divine Savior (SDS) International Community of Divine Savior (ICDS) International Commission Justicia, Paz e Integridad of Creativon (JPIC) Project of Publication of Solidarity Actions in ASIA 2 Salvatorian Solidaritiy with Asian Reality

3 CONTENTS I. General SDS global 4 Presentation 5 Justice and theogoy today 6 Peace 8 Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation 10 II. Salvatorian Sisters India: JPIC Work in a multi cultural and multi religious culture 12 Philippine region s response 14 Salvatorian Sisters Holy Land Region Nazareth 16 Salvatorian Sisters Holy Land Region Amman 18 Sri Lanka: Anti-human trafficking 20 II. Salvatorian Fathers Philippines: Justice by education 22 India Bangalore: Care center for PLHIV 26 India Laitkynsew: Social actvities 28 3

4 4 Salvatorian Solidaritiy with Asian Reality

5 Presentation Dear Members of the Salvatorian Family, In the context of the Year of Consecrated Life, the Salvatorian missionary year and with the reminder of Father Jordan who energizes us to not rest until all know, love and serve the Savior of the world, we greet and wish you the happiness of Christ Jesus our Savior. May His life inspire us and move us evermore to be mystical and prophetic apostles in the world today. One of the dreams of the International Commission of JPIC of the Salvatorian Family is to enable the exchange of experiences of solidarity with the suffering world wherever the Salvatorian Family is present. This calls for the publication of work being done by Sisters, Fathers, Brothers and Lay Salvatorians in response to the cries coming from diverse realities and continents. The goal of this publication is to spread the sharing of experiences that can inspire us in so many ways. This magazine is also useful for formation. It reveals the multiculturality of Salvatorian life and sparks, even in the beginning stages of initial formation, consciousness raising, a commitment to JPIC, the promotion of time for reflection, the use of contextualized prayers, and a concrete commitment to prophetic acts in everyday life according to the situations of every country and reality. In this, our first publication, we present to you some activities in solidarity as described by Salvatorian Communities present on the Asian Continent. We thank the JPIC contact persons in each country who answered our request. We feel confident that we will grow in our mystical and prophetic stance wherever we are, within our own ministries and with the people whom God places at our side. Where Salvatorians are present, hope is reborn that does not disappoint. On the homepages of each branch of the Salvatorian Family, you will find this magazine in many languages so that the publication might be used to best advantage. In joy and hope and with dreams about making a better possible world, we join with you in your efforts and prayers, Judy Davis Sister Edith Milton General Coordinator General Superior General Superior Lay Salvatorians Sisters of the Divine Savior Society of the Divine Savior 5

6 JUSTICE AND THEOLOGY TODAY The learned shall shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who instruct many in justice like the stars for all eternity (Dn 12:3). The learned shall shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who instruct many in justice like the stars for all eternity (Dn 12:3). Three times Fr. Francis Jordan quotes this verse from Daniel in his spiritual diary (I/99, I/158 and I/178. How P. Juan Carrasquilla, SDS, from Colombia, did Francis Jordan understand Local Superior in the General Mother House in Rome, member of JPIC. this phrase, what did it mean for his foundational project and what does it mean for us today, in a world marked by injustice: as exemplified in discrimination, conflict, inequality, hunger, misery and neglect of millions of men and women. The mention of the phrase three times manifested Fr. Jordan s concern in his desire to seek the salvation of all at the level of justice. It became a passion in his life. To speak about justice today in theology is to recognize the goodness of God toward man and woman and to experience the crucified one we preach. It is to feel the presence of God the Savior among the men and women of our time, manifested in Jesus Christ, whose joyful and passionate announcement is the mission of Salvatorians. It is to know the profound meaning of the preaching of Jesus; it is to identify with his project and to allow ourselves to be impacted by him. This validates the effort to risk walking through the category of Justice in the field of theology, trying to identify the God-Love, which is an expression of the just and compassionate God. Theology an attempt to answer the question in a world of injustice, found in the desires and longings of contemporary men and women: what place has God in our history and is this truly a just and merciful God? The question echoes Job s question: Can there be a just God, given the trying experience of pain and suffering that afflict people? It is about recognizing that God s righteousness is manifested to men and women through lived reality and likewise through a theological reading of our historical moment. And in a special way, it invites us to actively persevere in search for a world of right relationships and fraternity based on our Christian identity so as to live in the fullness of life in healthy and joyful hope like Jesus of Nazareth. Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ (Jn 17:3 [NAB]). Among all the images that hit us every day through the media, rarely do we find an experience of suffering that is not preceded by some injustice. Answers are needed to questions that challenge us through such obvious manifestations like human suffering, inequality, violent conflict, human trafficking, terrorist attacks, the execution of men and women, children recruited for war, holocausts and a long list of dehumanizing situations that are not easy to understand. There are data that shake us and require a commitment to justice. According to the World Bank, on our planet billion people survive on less than one dollar a day. Between 14 and 18 million people die of hunger every year (L. González Carvajal, Una Iglesia que eduque en la justicia, Sal Terrae, Santander 1998, 83). Less than 20% of the population enjoys 80% of the wealth. 840 million people are victims of malnutrition in the world; 200 million of them are children; in addition, 700 billion dollars are spent each year on armies and arms (J. Burgaleta, Celebrar contra la injusticia para educar en la justicia, Sal Terrae, Santander 1998, 106). Biblically justice is a gift of God, God s plan for the world that the people of Israel must discover in their everyday history and manifests itself as liberation and promise. The righteous person is one who lives out God s plans in life. Biblical justice also includes two inseparables dimensions: 1. Fidelity to God expressed in the care and attention to the poor and abandoned, and 2. the covenant that will be 6 Salvatorian Solidaritiy with Asian Reality

7 reformulated in the people s history and will have God as its real commitment, and as morality, behavior consistent with his way of being. It is important to see the distinction between justice in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. On the one hand Old Testament justice is understood under the weight of the law compared to the New Testament where Jesus places justice beyond the Law. With Jesus it participates in a broader dimension, a greater and more concrete justice that becomes universal. As for the relationship of justice to faith, charity, mercy and compassion, we see that justice is inserted into a religious horizon that goes beyond all conceptualization. In its biblical origins one can already see that justice functions as a regulatory model of society. The social doctrine of the Church has also endorsed the ethical aspect of justice as seen in the social encyclicals. The Second Vatican Council mentioned quite often the concept of justice to express the ethical dimension of human life as Christian. The first document of Medellin speaks of justice and the same hierarchical Church assumes it as a right and duty at the Synod of Bishops of Christianity is not understood without the presence of justice. Justice is part of changing the world in favor of the kingdom of God and is a constitutive and basic dimension of the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus. Justice ensues fully from Christian faith. The relationship between justice and faith establishes a close relationship of mutual reciprocity through charity and justice. We speak of an experience of genuine fraternity where the concept of charity is expressed and therefore by which the experience of mercy and compassion is produced. Human suffering challenges faith: We have seen how injustice brings about great suffering, a suffering that we can see in heroic figures such as Job. He is a suffering Job asking God about his own righteousness. The parallel is not surprising that women and men like Job ask God questions that affect us so directly. They are essential questions, because the suffering of the righteous is inevitable. The desire for justice is particularly strong when it becomes hope, a hope that Horkheimer names theology, a theology that is justified in the hope that the injustice of this world is not the last thing, that it does not have the last word (M. Horkheimer, Anhelo de justicia, Editorial Trotta, Madrid 2000, 226). Moreover, it is a hope that is justified as the yearning that the executioner will not triumph over the innocent victim (ibid). This way of thinking is originally Christian and justifies the need for a faith that from the beginnings of Christianity is already clearly visible during the period of persecution. Christian martyrs endured hardships emboldened by the hope in a higher justice that goes beyond the brief time on earth and by the belief in eternal glory, eternal happiness to be lived personally. This is where faith is expressed best. It is a manifestation of God s power that provides universal salvation to all human beings without exception. The response to the sorrowful history of men and women, to the search for God that provides man and woman a way to make sense of their experiences of pain, is in theology. It is a theology that far from obstructing or searching for empty words seeks to give a foundation for life in life itself and in death. It is in this well-founded theological space where we want to address and respond to the most important questions by means of the need for greater justice with which we hope to build the kingdom. Preaching it was the passion of Jesus. To proclaim this Christ the Savior, kind, compassionate and just is the mission of the Salvatorian Family and the legacy of Francis Jordan, our Founder. Justice is a concept that is widely used in many types of public expressions. Our entropic societies speak of justice claiming it as an area of equity and distributive justice. But perhaps they forget, to paraphrase Saul Bellow, the spiritual barrenness of Western society. It ignores the biblical root of justice, which helps us to renew our knowledge, identifying the basic values of biblical justice with those that help us live an experience of goodness and mercy among men and women in our times. But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and you neglect justice and the love of God; these you ought have done, without neglecting the others (Luke 11: 42 [RSV Cath.ed.]). 7

8 PEACE Within the recollection of man, the word peace has been used and abused to various possible ends. Peace can be described as a state of tranquility and harmony, which is void of any disturbance and conflict. But where do we find that peace today? If we want to make the world more peaceful, we must start within ourselves. However, talking about peace is hard once you take a look around. Yet, we should not look too far. There is a family in our street that lives and thinks differently than us. How are we supposed to make their acquaintance? They seem so peculiar. Have we already attempted to step out of our social comfort zone? Mss. Rita Van Olmen, (ICDS), from Belgium member of JPIC Although each human being desires a profound peace, it seems to be lost everywhere we look. This discord starts within ourselves. As the famous American blues musician Marvin Gaye once put it: If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else. A human being can only bring peace, if they experience it themselves; if they are at peace with themselves, and with what they have. The desire to be different and to have more causes us to combat each other. This starts with inessential matters; for instance, the neighbor s wife looks prettier according to modern beauty standards than me, therefore I do not talk to her; the neighbor owns a bigger car than I do, hence I do not visit him. Myriad examples of this kind can bring one out of balance. This is how inner peace gets lost, and discontent emerges. Therefore, let us find our inner peace first, and not fixate on our shortcomings. The Bible teaches us that there is only one God, and that he is the Father of ALL human beings; therefore we are all each other s brothers and sisters. Even though we want to believe in that, reality seems far from this ideal. We must only watch the news to realize that dissension, fraternity and war are prioritized. That is why speaking about peace has become challenging. Moreover, how do we process statements like I have a dream by Martin Luther King or Ghandi s peaceful rebellion? How can we still sing: Alle Menschen werden Brüder? And yet! Peace be with you, that is how He entered. Over 2000 years ago, there was a man in Nazareth, Palestine, who did not only spoke about peace, but also spread it. We call this man Christ, and we have named ourselves Christians after him. Isn t it about time for us, people living in the 21st century, to spread this peace? Apart from the negativism, which has befallen us in this era, it has also become clear that peace awareness is on the rise. Recently, the German Minister of Foreign Affairs stated during a WW I Memorial service that: That war cannot be justified The causes were a feeling of superiority and the attention for self-interest of one nation A reprehensible error, which must never be repeated. 8 Salvatorian Solidaritiy with Asian Reality

9 In the encyclical Pacem in terris, we find the following Peace in the wereld is only possible if economic structures curved in favor of the weak, and if the ratio poor versus rich can be compressed to a proportional equality of wellbeing and prosperity of ALL people. We may deem such statements as hopeful; yet, religions are often indicated as the cause of war and conflict. This is because religion has often been misused by politics. However, there are plenty of examples, which prove the opposite is true. For instance, in September 2014, more than 300 religious leaders and representatives of different cultures joined forces with politicians, scientists, academics and economists for the eighth time in Antwerp, Belgium in order to discuss conflict regions in the world, and the big challenges associated with those. The initiative was taken by the San Egidio Movement, which is a lay movement founded in Trastevere, Rome with now over 60,000 members in the whole world. The theme is Peace is the future. Religions and cultures in dialogue. Severios Hazail, archbishop of the Syrian-orthodox church of Antioch emphasizes the following An international meeting of that extent brings us closer to each other in order to respect each one in their being different, being tolerant, and being able to forgive. And that is vital since peace cannot be possible without forgiveness and tolerance. And without peace, there is no more hope, and no future anymore. But not only Christians churches pay attention to peace. In fact, also Jamal Maftouhi, who is Muslim and imam in Antwerp, considers an international peace conference between religions as a concrete example of dialogue. However, he does realize that more needs to be done. Everyone must work on bringing peace to the spot where they are standing and working right now. We may not wait until something is brought into motion internationally. Each one of us can work on bringing peace to their family, community and work place. We must not talk about dialogue; we must act on it. This is where the circle ends; peace within yourself; peace in your community; peace in your country; peace in the world! Let us try to pursue this everywhere, at all times, with and for everybody for the wellbeing of others, just as the Saviour has done first. May God s peace guide each one of us on our way to a more beautiful world! 9

10 Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation As a JPIC Commission at the international Salvatorian Family level, we want to strengthen the initiatives that various units are developing to promote the life that God has given us through the richness that we see everywhere on our planet. I want to refer to the words of Pope Francis because he summarizes everything that I wish to emphasize and stress. Pope Francis, in his dialogue with the participants of the Global Meeting of Sr. María Yaneth Moreno R., SDS, Popular Movements, General Vicar, member of JPIC stated many profound thoughts. When talking about Integrity of Creation, he said that it is not possible to separate out the sacral right to possess the land, without which the people have no access to decent housing and stable working conditions with rights. The Pope said: [ ] This meeting of the Popular Movements is a sign; it is a great sign. You have come to raise up in the presence of God, in the presence of the Church, in the presence of peoples, a reality that is often silenced. This meeting of ours does not respond to an ideology. You do not work with ideas; you work with realities You have your feet in the mud and your hands in flesh We want your voice to be heard in a way that, in general, is little heard People do not understand that love of the poor is at the heart of the Gospel Lands, shelter and work-what you struggle for- are sacred rights. During this meeting, you have also talked about Peace and Ecology. It is logical: there cannot be land, there cannot be shelter, there cannot be work if we do not have peace and if we destroy the planet. These are such important topics that the nations and their grass-roots organizations cannot fail to debate this truth. Peace and ecology cannot stay only in the hands of political leaders. All the peoples of the earth, all men and women of good will we- must raise our voices in defense of these two precious gifts: peace and nature Sister Mother Earth, as Saint Francis of Assisi called her. Pope Francis also spoke about the major problems that cause suffering for humanity, especially for the poor in various parts of the world as a result of the mismanagement of creation that God has given us, the monopolization of land, deforestation, appropriation of water, and inadequate agrochemicals which have deprived many farmers of sufficient land. He pointed out that, in rural communities, land is part and parcel of lifestyle and culture. For afflicted farmers, separation from the land is not purely physical; it is also existential and spiritual. Additionally, the Pope said that the need for agricultural reform is ingrained in the Church s social doctrine. At the beginning of creation, God created man, custodian of His work, and charged him to cultivate and protect it. I see that there are dozens of farm workers here and I want to congratulate you for protecting the earth, for cultivating it in community. I am concerned about the eradication of so many brother farm workers who suffer up rootedness, and not because of wars or natural disasters. The monopolizing of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water and inadequate agrotoxics are some of the evils that tear man from the land of his birth. This painful separation is not only physical, but also existential and spiritual, because there is a relationship with the land that is putting the rural community and its peculiar way of life in notorious decline and even in risk of extinction. The other dimension of the now-global process is hunger. When financial speculators condition the price of food, treating them like any merchandise, millions of people suffer and die of hunger. On the other hand, tons of food are thrown away. This is a real scandal. Hunger is criminal; nourishment is an inalienable right. I know that some of you are calling for agrarian reform to solve some of these problems, and let me tell you that in certain countries, and here I quote the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, agrarian reform is, moreover, a political necessity, a moral obligation. (CSDC, 300) 10 Salvatorian Solidaritiy with Asian Reality

11 In addition to what we do at a local level to commit to daily energy and water-saving practices and protection of human goods, we need to network with national and international campaigns that many civil society organizations have undertaken, not only to stop the abuse of reduced economic groups and societies, but also to make evident the double standard of the multi-nationals under the slogan of development which hide megaprojects that devastate life in all of its forms. To this regard, the Pope recalls: The scandal of poverty cannot be addressed by promoting strategies of containment that only tranquilize and convert the poor into domesticated and inoffensive beings. How sad it is to see that, behind alleged altruistic works, the other is reduced to passivity and denial. Or, worse still, businesses and personal ambitions are hiding; Jesus would call these ambitions and businesses hypocritical. This meeting of ours responds to a very concrete desire, something that any father, any mother wants for his/her children, a desire that should be in everyone s reach. However today, we see with sadness that the majority of lands, shelters and work are increasingly far away. It is strange, but if I speak about this, some say that the Pope is a Communist. Integrity of Creation means, in other words, integration with respect to the dignity of human life. Integrity is an exercise of constant awareness, a checking and transformation of our personal practices, those practices which affect life itself and to leave their footprints on the whole of creation in daily life. We have to take on and to participate in campaigns that defend the interests of the majority poor who, in the end, suffer even greater consequences; they are submitted slowly to inequity, inequality, ecocide and genocide. We have to declare as illegal all forms of poverty. Public services have to be a fundamental right and not the business of particular companies. Little, simple, humble and excluded people must have access to these rights; these are the preferred of the Kingdom and will be our main concern. We undertake this action without rest until everyone everywhere on the planet may live with dignity. Let s go ahead! We have to continue to make Jesus known as Savior through a prophetic commitment to the suffering world. 11

12 INDIAN REGION JPIC WORK IN A MULTI CULTURAL AND MULTI RELIGIOUS CULTURE In this complex reality, the poverty claim our presence and our work and we are convinced that all work made in favour of life of the poor people, supports the achievement of another possible world with peace and social justice. The respect for the differences is very important in our culture, especially for to live in peace and the memory of Ghandi, motivates us always to achieve dreams without the use of force and in a simplicity of life recognize the greatness of others as a fundamental premise in love, for practice justice and peaceful coexistence. The Indian Region of Salvatorian Sisters is in its 30th year of service. During these years of service to humanity, the Region can be really proud of the various milestones it has arrived at, and the determination and spirit with which the sisters live to be God s humble instruments following the Salvatorian mission and spirituality. It is fitting indeed to place on records the service rendered by the missionaries in realizing and sowing the seeds of Salvatorian mission on Indian soil. The growth of the Region, however, was gradual and it is in the process of self-sufficiency in areas of formation, leadership, finance, mission etc. The region, from its initial years to the present has given its thrust to be close to people, finding out their needs and respond to it as the Founder, Fr. Jordan and Mother Mary have envisioned. At present the Indian Region has 55 sisters, 16 novices and 15 candidates in formation. Most of the professed members are in the field of educating the young. Our principal task is the defend of life, especially with the helpless and vulnerable people that for us are a women and children. Sr. Asha. K.V, SDS SATHIRTHYA SPECIAL SCHOOL FOR THE MENTALLY CHALLENGED, VILLOONNI In 1994, a special school was established in Villoonni, Kerala for the mentally challenged children. The mission began with a very modest number of three small children. Today, it has 55 children from near and far being taken care of. Among these children, a few reside in the hostel. The School provides a program enabling them in many areas like singing, handicraft, sports, vocational training etc. The training boosts up the self-confidence of the children, and they are formed to be responsible persons with dignity keeping in focus that they are differently abled. Coming from a poor socio-economic background, these children are often a burden to the parents and family members. In addition to it, the girls especially, are victims of abuse by parents and relatives. As a preventive measure various awareness programs are imparted to children, parents, and the siblings of such children. Feeling the vulnerability of these children, the sisters assist them from dawn to dusk, and accompany them safely back home every day. 12

13 SAUDDHARA SEWING CENTRE FOR WOMEN, VILLOONNI One of the priorities of Salvatorian Apostolate is the empowerment of women. Many a times the constraints imposed by the society on women, besides taking care of the needs of their husband, children, family members etc., have imprisoned them in the four walls of their houses. Many of them have a sad story to tell. To make a difference to this situation, the Salvatorian sisters have begun a sewing centre for women in their free times from the nearby places with the intention of self-help in assertiveness and defense as and when situation demands, and as a means of small income generation. They are helped financially to own a sewing machine for themselves. Time is also set apart to those who would like to seek psychological help through counselling. DE-ADDICTION CENTRE AND COUNSELING IN THE SCHOOLS AND THE BOARDING: To prevent the abuses and human trafficking The Indian region has sisters trained as counselors, and they work in the De-addiction Centers of the Diocese. They are also involved in counseling the school children. Awareness programs are availed to children to protect themselves from the allurement and traps that promise them money or special offers as model, TV actresses etc. A boarding in Mannanam, Kerala is managed and run by the sisters for the girls whose parents are working abroad and are left with their relatives. This mission prevents the children from being abused by the relatives and others in the society. Another boarding for girls is established in Shillong, North East of India. The boarding takes care of girls who are forced to look after their siblings, and girls who otherwise get married when they attain puberty and are forced to bear children at a tender age; often, men leave them after they have given birth to three to five children. Girls in such cases either end up in the hands of some other men or are led to prostitution. Some girls are provided free accommodation, food and education in the convents and other places of service. The presence and dedicated work force of the Salvatorian sisters among women and girls in India is making a tremendous impact spiritually, psychologically, and materially. However, it s a drop in the ocean. Thank you.

14 PHILIPPINE REGION'S RESPONSE TO JUSTICE, PEACE AND INTEGRITY OF CREATION (JPIC) SOME HISTORY The Salvatorian Pastoral Care for Children (SPCC) was formally founded on 15 August 2001 on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary as a major social apostolate of the Sisters of the Divine Savior (SDS), known as Salvatorian Sisters, Philippine Region targeting the marginalized and disadvantaged sectors of society, particularly children and women in need of special protection. It is an attempt of the Salvatorian Sisters in the Philippines to translate into action the SDS charism and mission priorities formulated during the Congregation s 17th to the 19th General Chapters which took place during the period More specifically, the SPCC is an organized effort of the Salvatorian Sisters to address the continuing denial and violation of the basic human rights of Filipino children and women as provided for under the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). In the Philippines today, the SPCC realize that the best way to live out SDS charism and mission priorities is to accompany the millions of Filipino children and women who are marginalized and disadvantaged as they strive to fulfill their rights to survival, development, protection, and participation towards the fullness of life. Sr. Mary Adeline Abamo, SDS SPCC PARTNERSHIPS The SPCC then has entered into partnerships with 6 (six) selected parishes since 2002, initially in the Diocese of Novaliches under the leadership of Bishop Antonio R. Tobias and the Archdiocese of Cebu to 3 (three) parishes under the leadership of Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal in the year The SPCC has focused its efforts on helping our partner parishes and become more fully child-friendly. This process essentially entails building safe, caring, and protective environment for children and women in local church communities. More concretely, SPCC promotes the establishment of a parish-based child and women protection programme as integral component of the overall parish pastoral programme. SPCC support the training and organizing of child rights advocates (CRAs) in the parish who become the frontline workers in the care and protection of children and women against various forms of abuse, violence, and exploitation. PROGRAMS AN SERVICES Direct Intervention Program (DIP): Psycho-social help and support to the exploited and abused children and women through: Home visitation, Referral services, Counseling services, Reach-out operation, Para-legal Assistance, Educational assistance Prevention and Community Education: Advocacy and awareness raising through symposium, forums, conferences and lobby sessions on Trafficking in Persons, Crime of Child Pornography, Child Abuse, etc. Formation and Trainings of Child Rights Advocates (FTCRA): Capability- building of Child Rights Advocates (CRAs) as partners in protecting and upholding the Rights of the Child. As of this date, we have already more than 5,000 trained and formed child rights advocates in the Diocese of Novaliches and in the Archdiocese of Cebu. They are our partners: our eyes and ears in the community for the promotion and protection of children and women in the community. Community Organizing (C.O.): A vital tool for the social transformation of the community. Networking and Linkages (NL): Broader connections and linkages with Child-caring organizations: Government and Non-Government 14 Salvatorian Solidaritiy with Asian Reality

15 SPCC VISION MISSION GOAL Every child living in a safe, healthy, nurturing and protective environment, free from all forms of neglect, abuse, violence, exploitation and discrimination. From our work, we facilitate the development of a child-friendly parish thru community-based interaction and strategies in child protection which consider the Filipino culture and the context of poor communities. To inspire and foster a caring and nurturing environment for children within the families and communities. To minimize the risks involved (both short and long term) for children who are in need of special protection through ensuring adequate emergency, basic and social services. Our efforts have dreams which we try to get: We, the SPCC, are a group of Salvatorian Sisters and committed Lay Partners inspired by the founders of the Sisters of the Divine Savior (SDS, or Salvatorian Sisters). We believe that children have rights and as such, promotion of children s rights is integral to the SDS mission. Children are our future. We believe in the inherent capacity of the local communities / parishes to protect the rights of the child. The Church, by virtue of its mandate from the people, assumes great responsibility in upholding the welfare and promotion of children s future. We believe, also, in the capacity of children to uphold their rights. We believe that participatory approaches would lead to empowerment of the people. THE SOLIDARITY IS A MAJOR SUPPORT: Individual, local and foreign donors: DREIKOENIGSAKTION-AUSTRIA (DKA-Austria), has been the major, Funding partner of SPCC Quezon City since 2002 up to the present. MISSIO GERMANY, has been the major funding support of SPCC Cebu since 2006 to the present. 15

16 Salvatorian Sisters Holy Land Region Nazareth Historical aspect of the Project JPIC INSIDE SCHOOL Since the year 2011, when the initiative of the JPIC started, Sr. Deyanira Garcia M., originally coming from Colombia, was nominated as responsible and local contact person for this programme in the Holy Land Region. One of the Salvatorian Lays, Mrs. Lucy Farah, is assisting her in this project. From the beginning also the school administration and the Director, Mr. Awni Bathish, welcomed and supported the idea to evolve the consciousness of the pupils through the programme Justice and Peace and the Integrity of Creation. With a detailed explanation to the classes 4 to 6 Sr. Deyanira and Mrs. Lucy started their work four years ago and they invited the students to join the group. First the children checked what they could do in order to fulfil the goal of JPIC in school. On March 16th of 2011, the group (18 students, one girl and one boy from each class) started with an explanation of JPIC. They prepared a little project and programme with general objectives, some activities to do in the group and in school. Now, four years later, the group has grown, worked a lot and made a lot of experiences. Today 42 students from class 3 to class 8 belong to the group. The general goal is especially in primary level to strengthen the value of Justice and Peace within the personal relations, peace in all the personal attitudes, showing love and respect to everyone, taking care for the creation. Israel and Palestine the Holy Land is multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-ethnic but with many internal conflicts. The children and the young generation grow amidst this tense situation. Hence they need to get a good value-added education to practice good relationships in justice, peace and solidarity, but also to care for life and creation. Monthly meetings will take place in order to create the student s consciousness for the need of peace in their hearts, in their families, in the school and neighbourhood and in the society. We use the modern means of communication to show them PowerPoint presentations, messages, movies, etc. Other activities are: Visiting national parks, public places to learn how to protect the environment, to use and to save resources and to collect and recycle things. We would like to motivate the students to participate in this action also in school. Every day this group of students is busy with these things. They are careful with plastic things; they made campaigns to avoid plastic bottles or other plastic because they are not biodegradable. In the end this will harm the planet because of pollution, contamination etc. They are collecting batteries and paper in each classroom, working with recycled plastic bottles, using them as decoration for Christmas, Palm procession in the School, Easter time, Day of the Cross, etc.; during the month of Virgin Mary they make the rosaries. Every week one group of 8 boys and girls, during break time, are going around switching off the electric lights in the corridors, closing the running water tap, collecting bread from the dustbin. In order to find good arrangements between the students they are trying to reconcile differences, to solve conflicts and to find peaceful solutions. Meanwhile we can see some development and progress. The students who since the beginning belong to JPIC Programme now are in class 8. Some of them like to continue and to participate in this work. 16 Salvatorian Solidaritiy with Asian Reality

17 Sustainability for the Project: During the first two years the project was financially supported by an extern relief organisation. Meanwhile the school has taken over the responsibility because it is necessary to increase the interest of the students. We will continue our support in order to accomplish the activities and to achieve our goals. course of time, we can influence the culture and behaviour in their families and in school. It seems like a simple job to do, but it requires dedication and time every day. Above all, it is necessary to resist every day the strong culture of consuming without conscience, of not to worry about waste. Today s economy seeks to produce everything disposable in order to have even more consumerism. The project plan for JPIC continues to increase our school community, especially in Primary, as many pupils want to belong to JPIC and hence like to collaborate in some activities. We hope that, over the 17

18 MIGRANTS MINISTRY IN JORDAN More and more young women from Bangladesh are coming to Jordan without any informations. They are grateful for the help and support of the sisters. Visits in prisons, safe-houses, in hospitals the Salvatorian Sisters are following the gospel, doing like it is written in the sermon on the mount. Back home to Sri Lanka: Aruni is a run-away housemaid. We accompanied her to the Safe- House of the Embassy of Sri Lanka. We gave her a ticket to return to her husband and her 4 children. Siria is paralyzed and Neluka a TB patient both lived here illegally. They got amnesty from the King to leave. We helped them with the tickets to return to Sri Lanka. Naina jumped from the 3rd floor and has broken limbs. Her employer suspected her of stealing. We contacted the Embassy of Sri Lanka, the employment agency, the employer and the police. She was sent to Sri Lanka in bad condition and traumatized. 18

19 Help for mother and child is one oft he priorities of the sisters. The living conditions are sometimes awfully one or two rooms without electricity or daylight, humid but expensive an attractive business for some landlords. Many of the young girls are working in one of the garment factories outside the cities they are working hard, often hours,to get some money which they can send home for their family. 19

20 SRI LANKA EFFORTS BEING MADE ON ANTI-HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN OUR UNIT Our province is going to celebrate 60 years of her birth in our land. From 1954 till now we are responding to our founders life and mission. Sri Lanka is a country where we find four nationalities, four religions and somewhat increasing human trafficking all around the country around the clock. We as a congregation we are very close to the life of the people and in our missions and we find many opportunities to fight against anti human activities. Here are some of our mission activities. In our society today there are many women are geared to have the second marriages. Either the death of her husband or he has gone with another woman. Most of the occasions the children are suffering. At times in order to raise the family some mothers are migrating to other countries as housemaids in order to meet the financial needs of the families. The girls who are with us in our children s homes are like these girls who are sent from the government, through child care probation. We take of them, give education and counseling and until they finish their primary education. (Up to Advanced Level). Also if these girls are not so smart in studies, if there is no way to go home and live a protected life until they get marry we keep them in our care and observation. They go for small jobs according to their skills and once they are in age 18 we try to find good partner to the girl and settle her. Until then we the Sisters become mothers to them and they are under our care and protection. Also we advice and instruct the mothers who plan to go the Middle East countries specially leaving the young girls at homes. We always discourage the mothers and if there is great need encourage the fathers to migrate. Because when mothers leave the young girls with fathers there is no protection at all. Mission of Samata Sarana Samata Sarana is a charitable Institution. The purpose of the institution is to uplift the life of the children those who are coming from street. Especially their needs food, education and moral life, also the institution take care of the elders and kids. There are 500 children in the school. Our concerns do to children s education as well as to bringing them up moral principle. A Sister who works there says I am serving in this institution as a member of a team giving counselling to the children and parents who come with difficulties and problems. As a team we do visit the houses to find out their situation and support them to live a better life in the society. The mothers who are abused and raped. There is no punishment by law to the culprits. Some of our sisters render their hand to protect them from the society and make them feel that they are God s children and God s forgiveness and His compassionate love always with them. Our Sisters work with these 25 families who are low wages. They are Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims. No proper houses, drainage systems are no more. Even in a small shower the houses are with full of dirty water. Due to this many born and unborn children are sick and malnutrition. Sisters got them together to get all their signatures and sent to the government authorities who are responsible for the welfare and decent living of the people. At times these acts are risky, yet our Sisters boldly take steps for these trafficked persons. The number of roofless elders are increasing in our society. Many old parents are taken care by Sisters and NGO s. 4 of our Sisters are missioned one of these roofless and destitute elders institutions. In their old age we lovingly take care of them, make them happy and prepare them for a good death. 20 Salvatorian Solidaritiy with Asian Reality

21 In our Jordan mission we the Sisters work with the migrants who come from Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India. This is one of the stories out of thousands. Miss. Karima is an Indonesian girl who came to her senses that someone is there to share her life struggle. Karima was working in a four story building house. When she was cleaning the boss of the house was behind this girl and she got frighten and jumped through the window and got damaged the spinal cord and taking treatments in the hospital. During our visit we found she was not responding to anyone in the hospital staff and nobody could come closer to her because she rejects and stay as a dumb person. After a many visits slowly we got friendly and was able to get all the information of family who were in Indonesia and was able to send her back to her family in Indonesia. What a joy we experienced? Also when in needs we join with other congregation with CMRS -JPIC (Conference of Major Religious Superiors) and give our support for the awareness raising programmes. Sr. Shiroma Kurumbalapitiya SDS 21

22 Philippines JUSTICE BY EDUCATION SALVATORIANS IN THE FRONT ROW AMIDST THE POOR AND MARGINALIZED IN METRO MANILA Since he first set his eyes on the tragic reality of thousands of children compelled to collect waste on the immense dumpsites of Manila, Father Artur Chrzanowski SDS decided that action had to be taken. He set up an alternative education programme to offer them a way to overcome structural poverty. A VICIOUS CIRCLE OF LACK OF EDUCATION AND POVERTY Metro Manila is the most populous of the 12 defined metropolitan areas in the Philippines and the 11th most populous in the world. As a typical example of urban development in the megacities of the South, it is a place of economic extremes. Many high-income citizens are concentrated in gated communities or in high-rise developments in or around central business districts. In sharp contrast to these residences are the slums and illegal settlements which can be found in over 250 communities located in all cities and municipalities. They account for some 2.5 million men, women and children living in the most depressed areas of the country s prime conurbation. These slum communities are located on vacant lands that are both private and government owned. Usually they are along rivers and creeks, in garbage dumps, along railroad tracks, under bridges, and beside factories and other industrial establishments. Parola for instance, in the city of Manila, is one of the largest slums in the Philippines with an area of 205,800 m2. Its population is estimated at about 57,000 people. Parola lacks the primary amenities that a community with a large population should have. There is no health centre, the streets and roads are very narrow, the drainage system is poor, there is no garbage/waste disposal management and the water supply system and electrical facilities are incomplete. In fact, only around 25% of the households have electricity and 40% have water supply. Most of the residents just buy clean water for 2.00 pesos per container and use oil lamps and candles at night, which easily cause fire. High unemployment forces them to be inventive to survive. They scratch out a living as cycle rickshaw drivers, helpers, laundry washers, garbage collectors, or through running small kiosks (where products like sardines, rice, candy, shampoo and soap are being sold). Even peeling off garlic skin is a popular way of earning money. Since the vast majority of people in Parola earn no more than 3,500 pesos (75 USD) per month, many of them no longer get by. As a result, the number of beggars as well as street crimes increased. Drug abuse also exists; the users sniff solvents which apparently help them not to feel hungry. 22 Salvatorian Solidaritiy with Asian Reality

23 The people in these slums are trapped in a vicious circle of poverty, lack of education, unemployment and again poverty. Children in the slums are lacking a just and fair chance of a better future for themselves. Forced by necessity to contribute to their families income, they are very often involved in dumpsite scavenging and garlic pealing and other informal activities which prevent them from attending regular school. In fact, one of the major causes for school dropout is the exigency to work, but there are other contributing factors as well: For instance, children might not be anymore used to study, or their families move to other places. Also early pregnancy, group pressure of gangs which discourages children to attend, drug abuse, the notorious Pisonet video games that keep them awake at night, lack of confidence and values, family or health problems might have a negative impact on school attendance. PUSO SA PUSO Since he first set his eyes on the tragic reality of thousands of children compelled to collect waste on the immense dumpsites of the megacity, Father Artur Chrzanowski SDS, the Vicar and Treasurer of the Salvatorian East Asia Vicariate, decided that action had to be taken. He set up a local corporation, Puso sa Puso Edukasyon, Inc., Puso sa Puso meaning Heart to Heart. Puso sa Puso shares the mission, vision and spirituality of the Society of the Divine Saviour and its purpose is to support Manila s slum communities to overcome structural poverty by education. At the center of Puso sa Puso s activities is the Alternative Learning Programme ALSA BUHAY carried out in Parola and Payatas, two huge slum areas in Manila. In the Filipino language, Alsa means to lift up, or carry, while Buhay means life. This summarizes very well the overall goal of the programme: To uplift the future lives of Filipino youths. ALSA BUHAY Learners Formation offers school dropouts (also named Out of School Youths, OSY), who are unable to afford the fees due for private schools, the opportunity to study according to their individual education level, their needs and their family tasks, and prepares them in groups and individually for the Accreditation & Equivalency Examination (A&E), the officially recognized equivalent of a long-term school education. The A&E certificate is a door opener to higher education and facilitates access to the regular job market. ALSA BUHAY takes into account the special situation of OSY thanks to customized learning structures and provides access to a regular alternative learning system programme in line with the Philippine Department of Education (DepEd) standards and requirements. It differs from similar private-run programmes in that it is free of charge and therefore accessible by the very poor, and it strives to offer the children and families of Manila slums the opportunity to realize how important education is to get out of structural poverty: to better understand their situation; to help them improve their lives; to become familiar with positive values; to undergo counselling sessions; to tackle the issue of abuse and violence; to get a job. The programme was set up in 2010 with a first learning center in a container in the Parola slum. To respond to the explicit pleas from the local population, in 2012 a second learning center was installed at the premises of the Diocese of Novaliches. The target group of the Puso sa Puso learning centres are the poorest children in particularly indigent slum areas with high dropout incidences, who are of age to graduate from elementary or secondary school. Older children and adults with potential are also considered, the main criteria being the desire and capacity to learn and pass. SCHOOLING AND MORE Father Artur and the Puso sa Puso teachers and social workers, who are coordinated by the Salvatorian Sister Frances and assisted by a number of international volunteers as well as by local Salvatorian Brothers and Novices, soon realized that the problem of dropouts needed a holistic response in order to tackle the overall problem from more sides and take into account its manifold underlying causes. For instance, since the children need permission, exemption from income generating activities and encouragement from their families, the project is enhancing awareness among the parents about the importance of education for their own and their children s socio-economic advancement as well as 23

24 about their own role as parents. Vocational trainings for learners and their families are providing them with professional skills that enable them to set up dignified income generation businesses that replace dumpsite scavenging and other unhealthy activities. That is why, on the basis of ongoing critical observation, monitoring and lessons learnt, over the years Puso sa Puso has developed into a whole package consisting of interlocked programme components: ALSA BUHAY Learners Formation - The core of Puso sa Puso: primary and secondary education for school dropouts who cannot afford private alternative learning and preparation for the governmental A&E Exam. Through mentoring, individual coaching and customized learning the education is tailored to respect the different educational levels of the single students and their individual situation. Nutritional support between the lessons and transport allowances are granted to enable the very poor and those who have moved to faraway areas during the process to continue their studies regularly. Life Skills Training Programme for ALSA BUHAY Learners - A wide range of trainings, educational and awareness raising activities which address lack of self-confidence, lack of positive values, motivation and perspective, risks of early pregnancy and of drug (ab)use and which prepares children and youths for a dignified social and family life. Rice for School Programme - The distribution of tickets, to be swapped with 20kg of rice per month, to those learners who regularly participate at the lessons. This programme aims principally at resolving the dilemma that many learners are facing between their will to study and their necessity to work to contribute to the sustentation of their families, which has been identified as the main factor leading to cases of dropouts or of children refraining from subscribing to the formation programme in the first place. Livelihood Programme - From Enrolment to Employment is the specific objective of this vocational training programme that helps learners, exam takers waiting for their results and parents to create small-scale income generating opportunities as professional alternatives to dumpsites scavenging. Parents Awareness Programme - The parents of the learners have been involved in the project right from scratch by instructing them about the importance of education and the positive socio-economic impact the alternative learning process will have on their and on their children s lives. Awareness raising trainings with respect to the roles and responsibilities of parenthood, about child protection and the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), domestic violence and gender equity are regularly offered to all parents and guardians of the learners. ESKWELAHAN NG BUHAY ( School of Life ) - An early childhood care and development programme set up with the objective of helping children under six years to be prepared to start elementary school and thus avoid future dropouts caused by insufficient intellectual exposure in early childhood. International and Salvatorian volunteers visit small children, individually at their homes and in groups at some spots in the slums, and teach them basic skills in a playful way. Basic Literacy Programme Basic education for illiterates. With a special method, learners between 8 and 45 years are taught how to read, write and count. Even though this training does not enable the participants to qualify for the A&E Examination, the amazing progress they make in the course of the programme is a sound proof of its impact on their lives. Health Care Programme Among the beneficiaries of Puso sa Puso s programmes, some have never been to school before or dropped out because of health problems. This programme provides them with free basic care, in order to improve their health status, enabling them to attend school. Part of the treatment is education on risky behaviour, HIV prevention and oral health care, the latter provided by a volunteer dentist coming over from Australia a couple of times per year. Mother & Child Programme Holistic formation for young mothers in view of a knowledgeable, responsible, nurturing and accountable parenthood, by offering regular spiritual input and education on basic skills of child care and birth. The programme involves also the respective fathers to be responsible and caring members of the family. 24 Salvatorian Solidaritiy with Asian Reality

25 Scholarship Programme Particularly deserving and poor former beneficiaries of the ALSA BUHAY programme are supported by individual scholarships that enable them to continue their studies and/or turn to formal schools. OUTCOMES Since September 2010, more than 850 boys and girls attended or are attending the courses and trainings in the learning centres. By end of 2014, 120 learners participate at the ALSA BUHAY programme. The rate of those who passed the A&E Exam with DepEd increased from 25% in 2011, when the first batch of learners was prepared, to 35% in 2013, which is above the national results (32%). The results of the 2014 Exam are expected in April 2015; the number of learners sufficiently prepared to register and participate increased from 61 in 2013 to 87 in As well, enrolment in ESKWELAHAN NG BUHAY is increasing significantly: The number of participating children under six has risen from 60 in the previous two years to 100 in 2014, thanks also to the arrival of two additional international volunteers. Apart from sheer number crunching, from surveys regularly carried out by the volunteers clearly emerges that Puso sa Puso s programmes have a qualitative impact on the lives of the beneficiaries, and that they themselves feel their positive effects even those of the learners who do not immediately pass the A&E Examination, or did not yet find a regular job. That is why Father Artur and his team are carrying on despite the many challenges they face and the limited resources at their disposal. Nevertheless, this would not happen if not for the extraordinary dedication of the staff, the strenuous support of the international and Salvatorian volunteers and the successful fundraising efforts of SOFIA, the Salvatorian Office for International Aid in Rome. CONCLUSION The purpose of Justice & Peace is to promote justice and peace action in the light of Catholic Social Teachings as an integral of the evangelizing mission of the Catholic Church. The J&P s mandate includes commitments such as Working for a more just society where the basic human rights of all people are respected, especially those of the poor, of women and others who are marginalized; Having a special concern within the Church for preaching and promoting action for justice and peace in support of the poor, disadvantaged and oppressed and to act as an advisory body on justice issues; Be committed to transforming society. That is where the Salvatorians come in: Puso sa Puso is the very expression of the Salvatorian Charisma to be at the service of the poorest and most marginalized of the communities they are embedded in and to change their physical and spiritual life for the better by promoting human development. It is a vivid example of the spirit of Justice & Peace put in practice. 25

26 INDIA SERVING GOD S PEOPLE INFECTED WITH HIV/AIDS It is indeed a great privilege for all of us (i.e, Gervas Daimary, John Paul shadap, R. Movin Rickson, Sindus Kumar Nayak and Srinu Velpuri) as Salvatorian Novices to lend a helping hand on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month at Snehadaan. It is a place where we are called to live Christian values in service to the humanity. About Snehadaan Snehadaan is a 50 bed community care center for PLHIV situated on Sarjapura Road, at the outskirts of Bangalore city, India. Through a holistic and comprehensive approach Snehadaan provides an array of services for the HIV infected and their families ensuring their dignity and overall quality of life. It is the pioneering centre for providing Care and support to the PLHIV and training of health care personnel in the HIV/ AIDS care field. It is managed by the Camillians of the Order of the ministers of Sick founded by St. Camillus around 450 years ago. Their mission is to provide care, treatment and support for the sick, especially the marginalized sick. The Center is a positive force in addressing the comprehensive needs of the HIV infected persons, ensuring their dignity and overall quality of life, by motivating, caring, supporting and rehabilitating them, with a priority for the palliative care of those who are in the end stage of the disease. They also run another institution in the same campus called Sneha Care Home. It is a residential programme for children living with HIV, within the age group of 5 to 13 who have lost their parents or parent and their normal growth and development seem to be difficult in their home or community. At present, there are about twenty three persons infected with HIV/AIDS of both the sexes, some of them are also infected by TB. There also nine patients in the palliative care unit. Sneha Care Home, is home to about ninety seven children, who are infected with HIV. They are given both shelter and education in the campus itself. However the number of the patients is never steady because some the patients after recovering go back to their respective homes but are very likely to come back after deteriorating their health due to lack of proper food and medication. People of all religious background are treated without discrimination and since most of them belong to poor families, they are given free treatment and medicines by Snehadaan. The Attitude Towards those Infected with HIV/ AIDS in India Our experience at the Snehadaan was an eye opener to realize, the way the people of India look at those infected with this disease. As a matter of fact, many people in India still consider HIV/AIDS as a kind of disease which is unacceptable in the Indian culture and context. The people infected with HIV/AIDS are considered to be someone, who has been living an immoral life. Therefore HIV/AIDS patients are often looked down or abandoned by the family members and the society. Thus we find many HIV/AIDS patients are dying in our country without proper treatment because they don t wish to reveal their sickness and seek proper medical assistance due to the fear of being alienated and looked down by others. There are many cases of people infected with HIV/AIDS have been secretly dumped in the Care Centers by their own family members because they fear that the reputation and good name of the entire family would be at stake, if the disease is known to the public. As a result most of the patients have lost the sense of meaning in life. Our Activities In the beginning when Fr. Joseph SDS, our novice master, informed us about the ministry at Snehadaan to the persons infected with HIV/AIDS, we were little worried and scared. As we began our ministry, we got to know a lot about human suffering and the value of love. It also helps to deepen our spiritual life. Often some of the personal experiences shared by the patients are very heart touching and thought provoking. We try to help in various activities of the institution like; hairdressing, cleaning the rooms of the patients, helping to keep the surrounding clean etc. We also help the weak patients to move to the dining hall and serve food to all the patients at lunch. Apart from these activities, we also spent time in 26 Salvatorian Solidaritiy with Asian Reality

27 talking and listening to the patients, which make them happy and feel loved. Through these small activities, we try to share with them the message of Jesus Christ that God loves and cares for them. We also get the chance to attend 30 minutes of class on these days about various aspects of HIV/AIDS. The classes help us to handle the patients in a better manner and clear many doubts regarding HIV/AIDS. When we talk and listen to them, they feel that there are few, who still care and love them. It also gives us great joy to add meaning to someone s life. We believe that through this ministry, we are able to live the message and dream of our founder, Fr. Francis Jordan, that to make known Jesus by all ways and means. We would like to share one of the experiences at Snehadaan. One fine Sunday, we were cleaning the rooms of the patients. There was an aged patient, who was standing beside us. We could notice that she was very much depressed and sad. One of us requested her saying Amma would you like to sit down As soon as she heard the word Amma, (i.e, mother in Kannada language) tears began to roll down her face. At that moment we did not know how to console her so we just stood still with her. Later she said, she was missing her children, who would call her Amma (mother) if she were to be at home. This incident teaches us the meaning and value of human love and appreciation. Often when we compare our silly worries and sorrows with that of the many patients, we find they are very insignificant compare to the loneliness and suffering they undergo in their daily lives due to isolation and rejection. These kinds of incident furthermore open our eyes to reflect upon the suffering of Jesus, our Savior, who died on the cross for our sins. The ministry to the people infected with HIV/AIDS, gives us immense satisfaction and boundless joy because it helps us to realize, what it is to be a true Christian. Conclusion As we conclude, we would like to recalls the words of a great Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore, I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy. Therefore, we find joy and happiness in our service to the humanity. It also takes us to the realizatiion that, Christ is encountered in our service to the poor, the needy, marginalized and down trodden in the society. So all are called to contribute to make the world a better place by our service to the humanity. Salvatorian Novices, Bangalore 27

28 THE SALVATORIAN SOCIAL ACTIVITIES AT STS. PETER & PAUL PARISH MISSION, LAITKYNSEW Laitkynsew is a place located on the southern edge of East Khasi Hills District of the Indian State of Meghalaya, a dissected plateau of an altitude of about 4823 feet (1484 m) above sea level. Meghalaya is one of the seven states of North East India with Assam to its north and sharing international border with Bangladesh on its south. Peter & Paul Parish Mission, Laitkynsew comprise of 36 Villages constituting about 1760 families with a population of 7860 Catholics, 78 Catechumens, 4 Catechists, 11 Pre-Primary Schools, 3 Upper Primary Schools and 5 Sub Districts. The population in the Cherrapunjee hill slopes are scattered with inhabitants residing in the high mountains and deep down valleys where they can be reached mostly only on foot. The people living in the terrains or plateaus generally belong to the Khasi communities. While Inhabitants living along the Indo- Bangladesh border belong to the Garo communities and these were migrants from Bangladesh during the World Wars and the Indo-Pakistan War. Therefore Laitkynsew mission is home to different languages, customs, and traditions. Scientific Study for Meticulous Social Planning A scientific survey was conducted in the villages under the Sts. Paul`& Peter Mission, Laitkynsew to assess the social condition of the people living under its territory in order to address it effectively and comprehensively. The survey was conducted by experts from the WISE (Women for Integral and Sustainable Empowerment), Shillong. The baseline survey assessed the need of setting up an English Medium School cum Boarding and a Vocational Training Centre at Laitkynsew. The findings highlighted the response of the people that there is an urgent need of setting up a qualitative and better Education system in the area. The survey also highlighted the necessity to set up a school with boarding facility, so that the children coming to this school from far away villages could be accommodated in the boarding, and will not have to face the difficulties of transport and communication. It would also help in the overall grooming of the students. However the proposal had many practical difficulties to overcome. Firstly, setting up a new School cum Boarding would require a lot of effort and huge sum of money because new buildings for the school and boarding with all the facilities had to be constructed. Secondly, the English Medium School will be a new school that would have to be started from scratch (i.e. getting children or students to join the school and convincing the parents to send their children to this school will be a major concern, as the school would not have built any reputation yet). Setting up a Vocational Training Centre at Laitkynsew, would impart various kinds of skill building training. Especially, training the people of the area on livestock management would provide an option for livelihood for many families. This would also enable the Parish to have its own animal husbandry units, which would provide the necessary farm and poultry food supply to the boarding. Keeping in mind the current socio-economic scenario of the people, where majority still depend on agriculture or daily wages for their livelihood, it is utmost important to address these issues so as to enable the community to uplift itself and also bring in sustainability. Education alone will not solve the problems at the grass root level, unless the people are economically sufficient. Therefore, it is also very important to address the issues by providing optional livelihood support. Social Action for Integral Development Following the post baselines assessment recommendations, Sts. Paul & Peter Mission, Laitkynsew, decided to address the social and economic issues faced by the people of the area. Our aim is to bring in an overall development within its coverage area of 34 Villages, with major focuses on better educational facilities, vocational training facilities for skill building, youth and women empowerment, addressing the issue of school dropouts etc., while continuing to cater to the spiritual needs of the people which is an ongoing and major activities of the Mission. 28 Salvatorian Solidaritiy with Asian Reality

29 The area of important accomplishment and continuing activities of the Mission comprises of: Missionary and Spiritual Dimension: The Missionary and spiritual activities are the two important ongoing and major activities of the Parish. It is carried out in two phases; the field base and the Parish base. The Field base activities are carried out by the Parish Priest and Assistant Parish Priest, who travel to the villages on a regular basis or as and when required by the people to provide teaching and guidance in spiritual matters. The Parish base activities are conducted regularly by the Parish such as celebrating the Holy Mass every day, monthly meetings with the Catechists from different villages, various other meetings with concerned people on regular intervals and other spiritual events are being conducted. Social Empowerment through Education: The current education system prevalent in the area is Khasi-Medium Schools sponsored and financed by the Department of Education, Government of Meghalaya. The Parish manages altogether 13 such schools, out of which 9 schools are Lower Primary (i.e. Nursery to Class V) and 4 are Upper Primary (i.e. class VI to Class VIII). The schools are scattered in different villages. The monitoring and visits to these schools are done on a regular basis by the Parish Priest or Assistant who would check on the development of the school or conduct regular meetings with school teachers and head teachers to address issues of concern. The government aided schools lacks quality education and proper infrastructure. They offer education only in Khasi or Garo languages, which would not be very beneficial for the students in terms of universal education. Proper monitoring of these schools, scattered in far away villages is also a great concern especially during the monsoon seasons, when some of the villages would not be accessible by road due to torrent rain and the rise of the water level in the rivers. Hence the need of a proper and quality education with better infrastructure that includes a boarding facility was a need felt in the central area at Laitkynsew. To address the issue of great concern for the future of the children of the area, the construction of an English Medium School with boarding facilities is undergoing at Laitkynsew. The immediate objective of the school is to impart quality education to the boys coming from economically backward families, especially residing at the Indo-Bangladesh border. The long term goal of the school is to gradually upgrade the school from nursery up-to the Higher Secondary level (i.e. Nursery to Class XII). This would be a major step towards imparting quality education in the area as many of the children from economically backward families drop out of the school at young age due to lack of financial means to support higher education. The ongoing construction of the School building is likely to be completed and inaugurated in February

30 Vocational Training Centre: Vocational Training Centre aims at harnessing and promoting the existing traditional trade of the area, especially handicrafts which is dying due to lack of interest among the young generation. The training Centre also aims at providing skill training and skill upgradation programmes to the people of the area in optional livelihood activities (such as tailoring and stitching, handicrafts, food processing and fast food making etc.) to those from economically backward families. The long term plan of the Centre is to function as production unit in collaboration with other organizations and government agencies in terms of technical, financial and marketing supports. Awareness Programs: Awareness programs conducted in various villages on regular intervals play a crucial and vital role in promoting awareness on social issues pertaining to the society, such as; the importance of education, health care and hygiene, environmental etc. The Parish in collaboration with WISE (Social Service Centre, Shillong) had conducted an awareness program in the month of October 2014 on various social issues pertaining to the society. The awareness program covered the topic and issues of women and child rights, importance of education, health related issues, importance of proper sanitation, safe drinking water, livelihood options as well as other related issues. The two days of awareness program was held at Laitkynsew and Dalia village respectively. It was well accepted and acknowledge by the people who actively participated in the program, with a total of 400 participants, (150 at Laitkynsew and 250 at Dalia). Another awareness program was conducted on Environment on 5th November 2014 at Laitkynsew. The topic on the environment was presented by Mr. H. Kharparan, the officer in charge of ecological project, Sohra, government of Meghalaya. He explained in detail about terrace cultivation, importance of planting trees, conservation of water, available schemes of the government, distribution of saplings of trees and seeds by the government, etc. The topic on health was conducted by Miss. B. Rynjah, Child Development Officer (ICDS), government of Meghalaya and Miss.Wandalin Jidon, a practicing doctor of Public Health Centre, Laitkynsew, who talked about the importance of maintaining good health, sanitation facilities, cleanliness, drainage systems, dustbins etc. On hearing about the awareness program being conducted in some villages, the people of the neighboring villages also have requested to conduct such awareness programs in their villages in the near future, which would be addressed as early as possible. Conclusion We share and contribute in the Church s effort to establish peace and justice on earth inspired by the life and words of Jesus Christ, who came to bring glad tidings to the poor... liberty to captives... recovery of sight to the blind (Lk 4:18-19), and who identified himself with the least of these, the hungry and the stranger (Mt 25:45). This commitment arises from our experiences of Christ in the Eucharist. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, To receive in truth the Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ in the poorest, his brethren (no. 1397). We continually strive to establish social justice for people of all walks of life because every human being is created in the image of God and redeemed by Jesus Christ, and therefore is invaluable and worthy of respect as a member of the human family. Therefore we are called to manifest the love and goodness of God through our solidarity and love for each other. Fr. Noble George SDS 30 Salvatorian Solidaritiy with Asian Reality

31 I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy. Rabindranath Tagore

32 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to right eousness, like the stars for ever and ever. Dan 12,3 Salvatorian Solidaritiy with Asian Reality

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