1532 Social Ministry Delegates Meet 2022

Mumbai, July 2022: The Don Bosco Development Society (DBDS), Mumbai organized the ‘Social Ministry Delegates Meet 2022’ on 13-14 July 2022 at Don Bosco Provincial House (Matunga). Twenty-two Social Ministry delegates from various houses in Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh participated in this programme.

The theme of this workshop was: ‘Working with Youth, Fund Raising and CSR’. On the first day, Fr George Miranda (Executive Director - DBDS) welcomed all the delegates and introduced the agenda of the workshop. He conducted a short prayer service in which he invoked the blessings of the Lord. After the prayer service, Fr Savio Silveira (INB Provincial) explained the true nature of social ministry in the province. In his address, he emphasised that our identity is Salesian. He quoted a part of article 2 of the Salesian Constitutions to remind the participants what their mission is, and that the poor should feel God’s care for them. He cited many articles such as: we go to young people in poor neighbourhoods (article 27); our involvement among poor people (article 29); every province must study the conditions of young poor (article 30). Fr Silveira reminded the delegates about the resolutions the province accepted in the last three Provincial Chapters (2013, 2019, and 2022) that every community would begin at least one outreach program in their neighbourhood. Fr Savio reminded the delegates of the following:

  • Social ministry is mandatory for Salesians

  • Our social initiatives need to prioritize the young

  • In social ministry, the personal involvement of the Salesian is crucial

  • Every Salesian will involve himself in outreach at least twice a week

He made following critical observations:

  • We have reduced social ministry to a completion of projects; our mission is wrongly linked to projects

  • Poor people are a priority; we need to back this priority with finance

  • We need to make all spaces in Don Bosco institutions available for the young

He concluded his interaction by reemphasizing that working with poor youth is the core of the Salesian mission and cannot be outsourced to anyone.

In his interactive address, Fr Manuel Murzello (INB Provincial Economer) specified that the role of the development office is to animate the outreach work of the other houses in the province. He listed the foreign donors from Europe who are helping the province. He asked the delegate to suggest discussion points for his meeting with donors in September 2022.

  • The delegates gave following suggestions:

  • The DO can help in preparing project proposals

  • We need to do a proper need-assessment of the people in area

  • Each community has to set its own priorities

  • We need to tap local CSR funds

The delegates shared the following challenges:

  • Donors do not pay staff salaries

  • We face a non-availability of qualified staff

  • We need to train our staff

  • Funding organisations ask for percentage share

  • We need to have agriculture engineers for rural areas

After the inaugural address, the first session was on ‘Woking with Youth’ by Dr Ronald Yashudhas (Professor, Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work, Mumbai). He covered the following topics:

What is youth work?

  • Principles of youth work

  • Models of youth work

  • Methods of youth work

  • Skills for youth workers

Apart from explaining the theoretical concepts, Dr Yashudhas also involved the delegates in the following group activities:

  • Definition of youth work across different countries

  • Evolve a youth work definition for their province

  • Discussion on the practice of youth work

  • Areas of change required for effective youth work

  • Youth development model practised in their respective organizations

  • Evolve a suitable model of youth work for their organization

The second day began with a short prayer by Fr George Miranda. This was followed by a presentation by Mr Mahesh Kumar (COO, DBDS) on CSR Funds Analysis, World Giving Index and Due diligence for funding.

The next sessions were taken by Dr Yashudhas. He covered following topics on the second day:

  • Principles of Fundraising

  • Methods of Fund Raising

  • Section 135 and schedule 7 of the Companies Act 1956

  • Skills for fundraising

For the group work the participants were divided into 3 groups of Rural group, Urban group and Gujarat group. They were involved in following group work:

  • Find companies investing in CSR in their vicinity

  • Find the priority areas and contact person details

  • Prepare a hybrid fundraising model

  • Share the plan

Dr Yashudhas also screened many short videos on the subject matter of the meet. The sessions were interactive, and a great exchange of ideas and experiences took place during the sessions. In the wrap up session, the participants shared their feedback on the meet. The general feedback received from the participants was as follows:

  • Participants thanked the DO and shared that they obtained a lot of technical knowledge on fundraising, CSR, and working with youth.

  • Some of the Salesians are not technology savvy and are unable to use technology to communicate their work. There is a need to hold a workshop on communication using digital technology.

  • The workshop was an eye opener. We may not be successful but we must keep applying for funds without getting disappointed.

  • CSR is new to some of us. We may be unsuccessful 9 out of 10 times but we must keep chasing companies for funds.

Delivering vote of thanks, Fr Rudolf D’Souza thanked the resource person for sharing his knowledge and expertise to the participants. He also thanked Development Office for organizing this meet.

The meet ended with concluding address by Fr George Miranda. He thanked the Provincial, the Economer, and the Rector of the Provincial House for their contribution to this meet. He also expressed his thanks to Bro. Bryce the Administrator of the house. Fr George reminded the participants that Social Ministry is not an option but an obligation on the part of Salesian and that God’s love need to felt by the poor in the neighbourhood. He also thanked the delegates for their active participation. He also thanked the staff of DBDS and staff of the Provincial House for assisting in hall management, food service, and arranging other amenities during the meet.