Austrian Ambassador Visits the Bosconet ‘BACK TO SCHOOL PROGRAM’ - Palam, Delhi
Remedial Education and Mainstreaming of Marginalized Children Living in Streets
17th February, 2022
The children of the ‘BACK TO SCHOOL PROGRAM’, were visited by the dignitaries of the Austrian Embassy. This program is being implemented for the children who live under the Palam Bridge, Delhi by the Don Bosco Network – Bosconet and supported by the Austrian embassy.
Ms. Katharina Weiser, Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to India and Mr. Matthias Radosztics, Deputy Head of Mission visited the children and their parents at a program organized by Bosconet at the Don Bosco Ashalayam, Palam.
Fr.Robert, BNet Board member & National Director – Don Bosco Youth Animation, Fr.Akshay – Asst. Director, Don Bosco, Ashalayam, Fr. Santhanam Asst. Director, Bosconet and the staff of the Bosconet Delhi office were present at the program.
The families living in slums near the Palam flyover, Delhi, lost their homes when it was demolished in 2017. Being displaced, they moved and have been living under the Palam Flyover ever since. The Covid 19 pandemic added to their woes with the closure of schools and the struggle with the digital divide was all too real, forcing many of these children back onto the streets and into begging. Their standard of living became impoverished with the unavailability of jobs and income.
The BACK TO SCHOOL PROGRAM is Bosconets action towards raising the standard of living and the future of these families and their little ones. It includes interventions towards remedial education, the provision of educational material, solar lamps and the mainstreaming of beneficiaries. 100 children living in the streets of Palam, Delhi are being provided these facilities.
The program for the ambassadors opened with a welcome speech by Fr. Santhan. The children proceeded to regale the guests with an opening song and a dance. Both the dignitaries conveyed appreciation for the work being done by BOSCONET to rehabilitate the children and were happy that this endeavor could strengthen the relationship between the two countries. They appealed to the parents to ensure that their children continue their education, stressing that education was the only way to progress towards a better life. Ms. Katharina also visited the slum showing a keen interest in the living conditions of the families.
During the program solar lamps and school bags were distributed to 50 children. A small presentation was made explaining the history of the beneficiaries, the challenges faced, interventions implemented and the impact made.
Bosconet is grateful to the Austrian embassy for this alliance. Their generous support has ensured the continuation of Don Bosco Networks mission to rehabilitate and provide continued education to vulnerable children.
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.