Newsletter Don Bosco Network 3/November 2014
of the Salesian Family!
Bicentury of Don Bosco birth is knocking at our doors. I believe every member of the Salesian Family and especially every NGO inspired by Don Bosco is involved in the preparations to this great anniversary. In Milan, near Don Bosco’s place of birth, the celebration will be very special due to the presence of the Salesian Family on Expo 2015.
The theme of the Salesian pavilion on Expo is relevant to all of us: “Feeding the youth - energy for life”. It includes three subthemes: “feeding the body” – which is most basic and should always come first in our activities, “feeding the person” – which is giving education and personal development and “feeding the dream” – which means feeding the spirit of the youth, the most important, without which the other two don’t mean much.
However we can’t feed anybody, especially the youth, if we have no food ourselves. Let us make this year the year of feeding ourselves with the spirit of Don Bosco and feeding the youth with this spirit. Let us enter into the depth of this great celebration and enrich ourselves, our cooperators and youth we take care of with Don Bosco thought and spirit.
Joanna Stożek, President of DBN
Many are the “gifts” that we could prepare for Don Bosco for his 200th birthday. One of them could be a more consolidated, more professional and more dynamic Planning and Development Office (PDO) in each Salesian Province in the world. In fact their presence is a sign of the professional responsibility of the Province in supporting the mission.
By doing so, we are focusing Don Bosco’s main goal, which is our beloved and most needy youth. “For you I study, for you I work, for you I live, for you I am ready even to give my life", says Don Bosco.
In fact PDOs, and mainly Don Bosco’s charisma, are for the youth, and not exclusively for ourselves. We empower PDOs because we want to empower the youth. PDOs are called to be at their service, serving the Province. PDO’s mission is youth-centred and not self-centred, avoiding the risk of getting involved in a sort of narcissistic development of our Salesian institutions.
We do not work only to reverse, for example, the dramatic statistics of poverty and illiteracy in a country or in a region, but to help Don Bosco to give a fatherly and friendly hand to concrete young girls and boys. Their faces and their names are, or should be, for us very much familiar. Salesian PDOs work for them.
For our Salesian PDOs more than “technicians” or “bureau experts”, Don Bosco needs first of all friends of the youth! And this is a reality taking place more and more in each one of the five (or six!) continents. Don Bosco, 199 years old, is very grateful for this! Me too!
Fr. Guillermo Basañes SDB
General Councilor for the Missions
NEWS FROM ACP PROJECT FOR CAPACITY BUILDING OF PDOS
The kick off meeting that took place in July in Nairobi, Kenya and gathered all PDOs involved as well as the Councilor for the Missions - Fr Basañes , Councilor for Youth Ministry - Fr Fabio Attard, Councilor for Africa and Madagascar– Fr Chaquisse Américo Raúl, was a great opportunity to explain precisely the idea of the project and gave a green light for all planned activities. Currently the project is developing dynamically. Two out of three local project coordinators have been chosen, the selection process of the coordinator based in Ghana is almost finalized. PDOs involved (12 provinces in Africa and 2 in the Caribbean) are completing the self-assessment process, using the tool worked out by one of the DBN member organizations, Via Don Bosco from Belgium.
The first training for PDOs will start at the end of November 2014. This month DBN will start developing the project’s website that will be incorporated in the www.donbosconetwork.org and will include updated PDOs database, documents section, elearing platform and some simple, intuitive communication modules.
EBOLA CRISIS IN WESTERN AFRICA
The situation in Sierra Leone and Liberia, that are strongly affected by the Ebola virus, is extremely difficult. Liberia is on the stage of disaster, there are only around 150 doctors and nurses in the country and the boarders are closed. In Sierra Leone, in response to the request of the government, Salesian community in Lungi adapted the school to receive children orphaned by the virus. Salesian solidarity for our brothers and sisters in need comes from all around the world. Due to the generosity of friends and donors, there is no need to organize coordinated emergency response, especially that the organizations of Don Bosco Network (Salesian Missions-USA, Jovenes y Desarrollo-Spain, Don Bosco Mondo-Germany, VIS and Noi per Loro-Italy) have already launched support campaigns. Let’s pray for healing and God’s protection in this crisis.
SALESIANS ON EXPO 2015
The preparations to the Salesian presence on EXPO 2015 entered into a new phase. The decision about constructing the pavilion in Expo area, called Don Bosco Home, will give us an opportunity to present the work of all branches of the Salesian family and connect closely our presence on Expo with the celebration of the Bicentenary of Don Bosco. The total cost of the pavilion will be completely covered by a sponsor. Construction itself will be temporary but sustainable and after the exposition will be transported to one of the countries where the Salesians work and rebuilt as a real school. The designers have already started their work.
Though the content of the pavilion still needs to be developed, it will be focused on three themes: feeding the body (right to food), feeding the person (education) and feeding the dream (spirituality, vocation). Local communities can present ideas for events to Fr. Claudio Belfiore till the end of October 2014.
BEST PRACTICES IN ADVOCACY ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Who: IIMA Human Rights Office in Geneva (FMA)
Where: 95 countries in the continents. Local Human Rights Defenders involved in this specific Advocacy action were IIMA members from the Region of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Main theme: Intervention in the situation of children accused of witchcraft
Aim: Draw Member States’ attention to the issue of children accused of witchcraft and urge the Government of DRC to accept recommendations on this subject.
This Advocacy action has entailed a double commitment: first of all, a moment of research and analysis which has led to the drafting of a report submitted to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in the framework of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). That required the continuous exchange with people working on the ground through questionnaires and mailing, and the accurate analysis of the recommendations previously issued by the experts of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and other UN Human Rights bodies to the DRC. A second phase of lobbying within the Human Rights Council has followed with the aim of drawing Member States’ attention to the issue of children accused of witchcraft and to induce the DRC to accept recommendations on this subject. Finally a side event was organized in March 2010 to present best practices on the re-integration into society of children accused of witchcraft. IIMA representative from DRC participated in the Panel to present IIMA activities in the field.
These goals were achieved through the collaboration with Representatives of some Member States that incorporated our recommendations into their interventions during the UPR session of DRC; and through our direct intervention during the session of the Human Rights Council, made in form of an oral statement.
With regards to the results, the objective to induce the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to accept the recommendations concerning the most marginalized childhood, and in particular the children accused of witchcraft, was fully achieved. This implies that the Government of DRC made the political commitment to undertake concrete actions to face human rights violations endured by children accused of witchcraft.
DON BOSCO NETWORK
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