Joseph Leo, SDB Joint Secretary – DB YaR FORUM and the Executive Director – Don Bosco Anbu Illam introduced YaR Forum (Young at Risk) and its activities beginning in 1906 in India. They are a network of Don Bosco Organisations committed to the safety, development, growth and rights of children. Their vision is to see a world where every child and young person lives and grows towards the fullness of life in secure and enabling environments. They believe in providing dignity and respect through education and advocate appropriate social and legal systems to work towards effective safeguards to prevent neglect, exploitation and denial of rights of children and young people. They are present in 175 cities, across 125 towns and 20 states pan India and 11 provinces with a reach of 1,31,377 vulnerable young at risk – abandoned, orphaned, homeless, hopeless children. They prevent these children from becoming victims of violence and abuse. This year saw over 1 lac migrant workers being aided with interventions.
Children are protected through various services based on their needs, under institutions like ‘Child protection Homes, Child Care Institutions, Observations Homes and Open shelters. These reach out to children who are deprived of basic education and shelter. Counselling services to children at crucial points in their education allows for effective decision making. Bridge courses enable children to make a comeback into the education system after being out of schools for years.
While the ‘Right to Education Act’ was a boon and gave children free education till the age of 14 years, after 14 years these adolescents are left to fend for themselves. This is where YaR steps in and provides for the crucial years of adolescent youth who are deprived of education and vocational training.
Their approach is 4 fold – Prevention, Promotion; Protection; and Participation.
They provide children basic rights through holistic development, formation and social transformation. More than 7000 children have received education up to the primary level and vocational skills training. 8500 children from the slum community have been given informal and supplementary education through the network.
The 4 target groups and priorities for the coming years have been outlined as follows:
• Young person’s addicted to substance abuse
• Young migrant workers
• After care for 18+ year olds
• Children in need of Care and Protection
YaR believes that their success lies in educating young ones to become our stars.
The Don Bosco Network in India comprises of 11 Planning and Development Organisations (PDOs), each dedicated to the development of the Salesian provinces they serve. The Don Bosco network is spread across 29 states and 354 NGOs, reaching more than 10 lakh people.
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