Already three years ago, based on the experience matured in various circumstances faced by the Congregation through the years, the Rector Major had appointed an Emergency Response Coordinator, namely the Coordinator of its Mission Office. On 25 March, he promoted a video conference in which 47 people participated, Salesians and lay people, from all the Regions of the Congregation and from the Salesian Central Office.
In addition to sharing information and good practices, they decided to follow a number of actions: map the needy people the Salesian centers can reach at this moment, identify what they need; evaluate the resources available for the needs of individual Circumscriptions (Provinces/Vice Provinces); share best practices; carry out advocacy work through the Salesian presence at the UN and the European Union; develop fundraising campaigns in an orderly and coordinated manner; monitor and accompany the distribution of resources – both bilaterally and internationally.
The emergency response team, promoted by the Mission Sector and supported by the Economer General, have developed the operational tools to follow up on these lines of action (protocols for requesting/offering aid, materials for information, auditing, reporting, etc). These tools were shared with the 90 Circumscriptions of the Congregation and a regular flow of information and the sharing of materials and resources has already been registered via, also, the email address created for the occasion: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Among the numerous actions already reported:
In India, the Salesians are increasing their efforts to save lives and prevent COVID-19 through as many as five projects; they are also collaborating with the government to adapt a higher education institution, with its boarding schools, for use as a hospital for the treatment of COVID-19 patients; meanwhile, the Swiss Salesian NGO “Don Bosco JugendHilfe WeltWeit” is supporting the Salesian projects in the Provinces of Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Tiruchy, with a contribution of circa 80,000 Euros.
And while in Croatia many young people of the Salesian Youth Movement are volunteering in the initiatives of the Red Cross and the Caritas by bringing help to the homeless, in the Anglophone West African Province (AFW), thanks to the experience of the Ebola epidemic, the Salesians have already prepared hygiene tools in all their works and have launched information campaigns (via the web, radio, flyers) for the prevention of contagion.
Finally, the Salesian presence at the UN is working, together with numerous other civil society organizations, to press on the Member States for the adoption of global measures to support development worldwide.
“This is an inter-provincial and international operation, for the benefit of all humanity, especially the weakest: migrant workers who have been stuck in the workplace, the homeless, the unemployed, the elderly, the beggars … Don Bosco is on the march and solidarity is always alive. Let’s spread hope,” says Fr Menamparampil.