Saint John “Don” Bosco truly lived his life for others—especially the poor, downtrodden young men living on the streets of Turin, Italy, near where he was born.
By the mid-19th century, thousands of these boys had traveled from the rural countryside, seeking better opportunities in a newly booming industrial city. But Turin wasn’t ready for them. Inadequate housing options, and a strained social support system, meant that almost as many landed in overcrowded slums—where crime, disease and despair ran rampant. Many youth roamed the streets and were a menace to society with their unruly behavior.Read more »
As you will read in this newsletter Don Bosco Network continues to facilitate synergy and effective cooperation between Salesian Family organizations and networks from different SDB regions and continents at the service of Don Bosco Mission for young people. Working together as one family we are more effective.
Recently we have also started participation in the work of the Forum for Catholic NGOs based in the Vatican. As a faith based/Catholic/Salesian civil society organization we ensure that young people in need of support are included in the international policy of the Church and Civil Society. Working in partnership with the Church, governments and civil society organizations provide better opportunity for sustainable development and assurance that young people in need “are not left behind”.Read more »
The 73rd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations opens in New York. The Salesians actively participate through an intense activity of advocacy, and are at work in this and other international organizations where it is possible to have the voice of the young heard, bringing to the attention of political decision-makers the needs and expectations of the poorest and most marginalized young. What does doing “advocacy” mean in the Salesian key? But above all, why is this theme imposed today on the reflections of the Congregation and of the Salesian Family? Trying to answer these and other similar questions is the Position Paper entitled “What does advocacy mean according to a Salesian perspective”, recently adopted by the Rector Major and by the General Council of the Salesians of Don Bosco.
The text, drawn up and beginning with the contributions of various Salesian NGOs together with an Expert Group of “Don Bosco International”, first defines the concept of ‘advocacy’ as a “process to support people and enable them to express their point of view, their concerns, gain access to information and services, promote and protect their rights and responsibilities, examine choices and options.”Read more »
What can we do to protect and respect God’s astonishing creation…the planet Earth? At times, any effort seems futile; the constant barrage of bad news — worsening smog, melting polar ice, floating islands of plastic waste — is disheartening. In India, the “Don Bosco Green Alliance” is countering this narrative with a message of hope, and providing youth with the resources and tools for change.
Formed this past December in Mumbai, the Alliance seeks to support Salesian-led schools as they shift to an educational model designed in the spirit of Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si.“Rampant development and construction is ruining the natural environment around us,” says Father Maria Arokiam Kanaga, regional councilor for the Salesian province of South Asia. “We must teach our students to return to the Garden of Eden, the paradise for which God created us, where there is harmony between God, man and nature. We need to make a paradigm shift now. In all our educational institutions, we need to increase eco-based education, and create a love of nature in our students.”Read more »
The Don Bosco Network has been very busy the last few months with a number of important meetings and events (which are summarized below in this newsletter). The good news is the cooperation and networking between Salesian Family or-ganizations is improving. Only when we work in synergy, mutual trust and support we can ensure that the Don Bosco mission for young people will be long–lasting and sustainable with great positive impact in the lives of young people worldwide.
We are happy to welcome a new member to DBN: SAVIO from Slovakia. We are happy to see great interest from other Salesian organizations to cooperate and network with us through our online platform and other programs and projects. With a new board of directors and a new strategic plan for next 3 years, we hope to be of even better service to the Don Bosco mission. The main focus points for us in next 3 years are:
1) communication and synergy (including the online platform);
2) capacity building (PDOs, TVET…), effective support to SDB in emergency situations and training on prepared-ness for natural disasters; and
3) advocacy, development education and missionary ani-mation.
Thematic working groups are effective tool to achieve good results and impact.
I would like to conclude with a phrase from our mission state-ment: Youth at the heart of development! Let us remember this in all our activities.
In 2017, due to wars, violence and persecution, there were 68.5 million people forced to flee their homes, with more than half being minors (53%); of these, about 40 million were displaced within their own countries and 25.4 moved abroad. For the Salesians of Don Bosco, who have always worked in support of the neediest of young people, the data published for the World Refugee Day by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) acts as new impetus for their commitment in the field.
The action of the Salesians is multi-faceted and takes place across the globe. To name a few, among the many:Read more »
Bangalore Rular Educational and Development Society (BREADS) of Salesians of Don Bosco Bangalore province in India produced short films dedicated to advocacy as a part of their Children Rights CREAM programme. you can view films: against child marriage, against child labour, for playground, demanding teacher in the school in the links below:
The fifth advocacy meeting for Salesian organizations took place on the 26th of February 2018 at Salesian Pontifical University in Rome, Italy. The meeting was organized by Don Bosco Network (DBN) and supported by Don Bosco International (DBI). The meeting saw the participation of General Councillors for Missions and Youth Ministry, Fr. Guillermo Basañes and Fr. Fabio Attard. In the meeting, participants included over 20 representatives of Salesian organisations who shared their advocacy actions in several fields. Among the topics discussed were the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and Migration. this second topic discussed the input from the Vatican Migrants’ and Refugees’ Section present in the Holy See document on UN Global Compacts. The meeting concluded with Fr. Attard’s presenting the Frame of Reference and its application to advocacy. The advocacy meeting grows year after year, as well as the number of joint initiatives developed together.
With these words Joanna Stożek addressed all in the newsletter of last July. As the new President of the DBN, I would like to use the same welcoming words in this final newsletter of the year, because we are all brothers and sisters in the same family! Looking back at the last year, I would like first to express again my thanks to Joanna. I hope to be a worthy successor to her. Secondly I would like to thank all of you for your dedicated work and cooperation in the projects and actions undertaken on behalf of young vulnerable persons in many countries, especially those in emergency situations. I think that we can be proud of the way we are helping young people to “stand up” and, often, to recover their dignity. I am sure that many are looking enviously at our work, in particular our data-base developed and coordinated by Wojciech. DBN was established to respond to the needs of young people but this would not be possible without the active partnership with the Salesian Congregation. Therefore we are happy to adopt our new DBN logo, expressing our partnership with the Salesian Congregation. It is not only a sort of ‘convenience’, but it is an expression of real cooperation! I hope that in the coming year we will continue to make progress along the lines which the logo expresses. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and I send you and your families my best wishes for 2018.
After five years of service to DBN I handover the position of the President of the Board of Management to Peter Annegarn. Thank you so much for your cooperation over the past years. In particular thank you for your openness and every good word. Confronting the understanding of DBN, which was shaped over the last years, I would like to underline once more that DBN is an organization at the service of the Salesian Congregation. It is not a superstructure that usurps the right to manage others, but it is a body that supports others to communicate better together and meet on the planes where they can work together to achieve the goals set by the Congregation. This is not the direction I chose, but the fundamental decision of all the DBN members that formed the network. Therefore, let us not be afraid of each other, but let’s take advantage of opportunities that we can offer to each other.
Why is Don Bosco still important today? The audio statements of these young people show that Don Bosco is the opposite of old and rusty. His preventive approach and his loving kindness towards marginalized and excluded children and youths is as valid today as yesterday. This soundcloud was created in cooperation with Medienwerkstatt Bonn.
In cooperation with the German Grimme-Institut seven participants have produced this film in a “Digital Storytelling” workshop. They learned how to tell a good story and wrote their personal stories in small exercises, collected license free pictures and music. Finally they decided about the concept of this film and learned how to speak in front of a video camera and strengthened their digital competences.
In each one of us, as members of the Salesian Family, there is a desire to change the world for better, more friendly for young people. Driven by this desire, we act not only locally, but we are as well taking part in the initiatives on a global level. This time, in addition to cooperation in crisis situations, we have also included a Response to the Agenda for Sustainable Development till 2030, which was developed in cooperation with and on behalf of the Salesian Congregation. The objectives defined in the Agenda 2030 are in themselves good and consistent with what we do, especially in the field of education. I am sensitizing, however, to look at it critically, paying attention to the fact that the Agenda also includes elements which are not in agreement with our faith. In our actions, let us remember as well that we do not preach Sustainable Development Goals, but we proclaim Jesus Christ crucified. And even though we join in social work, our first goal is to proclaim the Gospel, from which good works follow, for it is the Gospel that gives our actions substance and meaning.
We realized this was the sole request of everyone we interviewed, praying for peace. It became clear what we were really set out to do here – relate Michał Król, Fr Roman Sikoń SDB and Darek Malejonek (Polish Singer) from Salesian Missionary Voluntary Service – Youth for the World (Poland) who have spent week in Syria. In choosing not to immerse ourselves in the convoluted political situation Syria found itself in, we focused instead on the lives of ordinary civilians and the Salesians who were trapped in the jaws of daily war, we also met with hundreds of young Syrians at the Salesian youth center who inspired us with their kindness and authenticity. They too did not hesitate to ask us to keep them in our intentions and prayers.
Every 5 October since 1994, UNESCO has celebrated World Teachers’ Day. Nowadays the teacher “has become a much criticized figure.” Speaking of teachers, Pope Francis has said they are “craftsmen of humanity! And builders of peace and of encounter” and he insisted, saying:” If only governments were aware of the magnitude of their task!” On the occasion of this World Teachers’ Day, the NGO “VIA DON BOSCO” decided to “draw attention to the right to access to education around the world.”
Students in Belgium are relieved at the sound of the bell after class but millions of children and adolescents around the world have no one to save them from “the well-known difficult conditions for teaching, such as overcrowded classrooms, or schools without teachers” says Christopher El Khazen, head of education for development of the NGO Via Don Bosco.Read more »
The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants expresses the political will of world leaders to save lives, protect rights and share responsibility on a global scale. At the UN Summit on 19 September, world leaders elaborated on how each country will implement these commitments. Refugees, migrants, those who assist them, and their host countries and communities will all benefit if these commitments are met.
Salesians are in the frontline with regard to migrants/refugees, with special regard to young people and unaccompanied minors, as we are present in more than 130 countries around the world and we are in direct contact with the most vulnerable. Our concrete contribution besides being in those countries next to the people in need, is also to contribute in the elaboration of policies that can be effective and which can help in building up a more just and equitable world for all. As this is today one of the major issues tightly linked to poverty and conflicts, as also highlighted in the Agenda 2030 and in the SDGs, we consider it one of the arenas in which the Salesian charism can contribute, also in response to the words of Pope Francis inviting all to join efforts for fighting the unbalance of the present world.Read more »
In 1 year anniversary of acceptance by United Nations of Sustainable Development Agenda till 2030, Don Bosco Network is launching A Salesian Response to 2030 Agenda underlying commitment of Don Bosco organizations to the advancement of “poor and abandoned youth”. We welcome the agenda and present our recommendations to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals, making sure that no one is left behind and that all the Rights of young people, especially the Right to Education, are being respected by all the Stakeholders. This response has been approved by the SDB General Council and will be presented in the coming months by Don Bosco organizations to international institutions (UN, EU) and respective countries’ governments. You can read and download the document in different languages in the links below. For more information contact Don Bosco Network Coordinator at: email@example.com
On the 29th of August 2016 Angel Gudina representing Don Bosco International attended strategy meeting on the situation of children in migration. The meeting took place in the UN House in Brussels. EU, UN organizations and many international NGOs attended the meeting in order to prepare UN Summit, EU Councils and other civil society events on this issue.
This initiative is calling for attention that children travelling with their parents suffer the same conditions as adults including detention by immigration authorities. There are serious Children’s Rights concerns in these situations.
You can view the materials and documents from the meeting on our website resources.
The High Level Political Forum (HLPF) took place at UNHQ in New York, July 11-20, 2016. Fr Thomas Brennan, representing Salesian Missions at UN together with other faith based organizations, prepared 2 advocacy events: The Human Right to Water and Sanitation and Eliminating the Trafficking of Children and Youth.
You can find more information about the events in our website resources.
I am happy to share with you that thanks to the great openness of DBN members, General Council, Salesian Mission Offices and other Don Bosco institutions we are able to move forward with our cooperation for the good of the young people worldwide. Synergy between Salesian Family organizations in the field of Human Rights and Advocacy as well as Development Cooperation are good signs that as Don Bosco organizations we can work together to realize Don Bosco mission for young people in the present World. Our strength is in working together.
Social communication in modern world changes very fast and we need to adapt ourselves quickly. Our new website is a modern tool of safe exchange of information, learning experience, materials and resources; we present it at the service of Don Bosco organizations: NGOs, PDOs, Mission Offices worldwide. We encourage you to use it.Read more »
At its 32nd session (concluded last week), the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted a resolution on”Youth and Human Rights“. IIMA and VIDES substantially contributed to the text of this resolution. After years of work, finally, this is the first resolution ever adopted by the HRC on the theme of youth and paves the way to future initiatives of the HRC on the topic. This achievement may encourage all of us to continue our work with and for young people. You can view the resolution in our website resources.
January 29th, Don Bosco Network and Don Bosco International hosted in Rome the third annual advocacy planning meeting of the Salesian Family.
The meeting gathered over 20 representatives of Don Bosco Networkorganizations (VIS – Italy, SWM – Poland, Via Don Bosco – Belgium,Jovenes y Desarrollo – Spain), Don Bosco International, Don Bosco Youth Net, representatives of the SDB General Council – Fr Gulermo Basanes, Fr Fabio Attard, Fr Eusebio Muñoz – Delegate for the Salesian Family, Fr. José Pastor Ramírez – Delegate for the Past Pupils, Renato Cursi from the Youth Ministry Department, Patrizia Gonzales and Ana Muñoz from the Salesian Mission Procure in Madrid, Cynthia Cichocki from Don Bosco Mission Bonn, Fr Thomas Brennan – SDB representative in the UN, Fr Joy Nedumparambil from BREADS, India and Irfan Arif – human rights activists from Pakistan.
Last Thursday, October 29 there was an official handing over of the keys of Casa Don Bosco to the young people of Ukraine.
In the presence of the Commissioner General of EXPO, Bruno Pasquino, the Operation Manager of the Pavilion, Dr Ercole Lucchini, symbolically handed over the keys of Casa Don Bosco to Fr Yurij Smakous, SDB, Secretary and Delegate for Communications of the Salesian community in Ukraine. It was also an opportunity to toast the future, wishing the best to the Salesians throughout the world who strive daily to spread the educational method of Don Bosco. Don Bosco Network was an official partner of the salesian pavillon Casa Don Bosco on EXPO 2015
We should share information, projects, we should strengthen and foster communication – said Rector Major Ángel Fernández Artime while visiting Don Bosco Network Board Meeting that took place in Rome on Saturday, October 10, 2015.
DBN Board, including Peter Annegarn from VIA Don Bosco Belgium, Fr. Manuel de Castro from Jovenes y Desarrollo Spain, Fr. Guillermo Basañes Councilor for the Missions and two Don Bosco Network staff members met to discuss the current activities connected to the emergency response, upcoming advocacy meeting of the Salesian Family and further development of the Network under one DON BOSCO umbrella. Rector Major Ángel Fernández Artime passed his greetings and shared a few words of encouragement.Read more »
On September 25th 2015, 193 world leaders committed to 17 goals to achieve 3 extraordinary things in the next 15 years. End extreme poverty.Fight inequality & injustice.Fix climate change. Sustainable Development Goals that will govern the international action in the post-2015 period were adopted by the UN member states. >> Read more about the SDGs
MDGs vs SDGs
There are 17 sustainable development goals with 169 targets in contrast to the 8 Millennium Development Goals with 21 targets. The complex challenges that exist in the world today demand that a wide range of issues is covered. It is, also, critical to address the root causes of the problems and not only of the symptoms.Read more »
The petition to name the human right to water and sanitation in the political Declaration of the Post-2015 Development Agenda we as DBN endorsed in May 2015, appeared to be successful!
On Sunday, 2 August, United Nations Member States unanimously agreed on the final text that will be adopted by Heads of State at the UN Summit to adopt the Post 2015 Development Agenda in late September. The Post 2015 Development Agenda will shape official development policy for the next 15 years. The Agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 6 on universal access to water and sanitation.
School year has started! Sadly despite the global effort to ensure education for all, still 121 million children and adolescents do not attend school. SAVED BY THE BELL is this amazing initiative of VIA Don Bosco to raise the awareness of our kind, their parents and teachers about the education difficulties their peers experience all around the world.
In developing countries more than one child in four does not finish the last year of primary school. These are mainly young people from poor families, especially girls, and young people from rural areas. Also, ethnic minorities and young people with disabilities are often excluded from the education system. Worldwide, 250 million children cannot read, write or count. Nevertheless, half of them have followed basic education.
It is not enough to show only compassion for the fate of these young people, deprived of quality education. Action is needed! We must demand that Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is respected everywhere: “Everyone has the right to education”.
As citizens it is our duty to not only show our solidarity with students and teachers around the world, but also to let our voices be heard. Together we request those in power to emphasize on the necessity of better access to quality education and the resources needed to achieve this.