On the occasion of Silver Jubilee celebrations of BREADS on 23rd November 2018, a national conference was organized at National, Biblical, Catechetical and Liturgical Centre (NBCLC), Bengaluru. In the introductory remarks, Fr. Joy Nedumparambil, Executive Director, said, “This is an ideal moment then for us to pause, to reflect, to celebrate, to learn from the journey that has been and to prepare for the journey that is ahead.”
Inaugurating the conference, Fr. Joyce Thonikuzhiyil SDB, Provincial, Salesian Province of Bangalore, said, “BREADS has been playing its role in many ways through the length and breadth of the province of Bangalore, through various projects, well conceived, convincingly prepared, carefully executed, fruitfully lived and enjoyed by so many people.” The inspiration for the theme of the national conference, ‘Building the future together’, is Don Bosco who responded to varied requirements of the young people in difficult situations.
Moderating the first panel discussion, ‘A Child Friendly Society’, Ms. Kavita Ratna, Director, Advocacy, the Concerned for Working Children said that the discussion is to consider the creation of a child friendly society. There is a marked difference between a society that looks at children as beneficiaries than partners in the process of change. Fr. Koshy SDB, Executive Secretary, Don Bosco National Forum for the Young at Risk, Delhi, presented the theme ‘Children in need of care and protection-child labour law amendments, new strategies and advocacy. Mr. Sonikutty George, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF, Hyderabad spoke on ‘the Children in conflict with the law-interventions in government run-homes, strategies and advocacy’. Mr. William Gali, Project Manager, Family for every Child, Bangalore, shared about ‘Non-Institutionalization of children and alternative forms of childcare’.
Introducing the second panel discussion, Mr. Hans-Jurgen Dorrich, Director, Corporate Partnership, Don Bosco Mondo, Germany said that the session would look at the relevance of technical and skill training as a remedy to help young people out of their misery. Education begins at the initial stages of human life and ends only when he/she is able to get a decent livelihood with his/her own hands, so education includes vocational training and whatever else is required to make a livelihood. Fr. Jose Aikarchalil SDB, Executive Director, Don Bosco Tech Society, Delhi, presented the topic ‘Short-term skill training-saturation vs sustainability.’ Mr. Thomas Pullenkav, Senior Advisor, SELCO Foundation, Bangalore, briefed about ‘Training in Solar energy-relevance and possible partnerships’, and stressed on the need to skill young people to earn a livelihood. Fr. Savio Silveira SDB, Convener, Don Bosco Green Alliance, Mumbai, enlightened the assembly about ‘Youth and environment- a Don Bosco Perspective.’
“This panel discussion would help to gain perspectives and orient towards building the future, together”, said Fr. Noel Maddichetty SDB, Director, BOSCONET, Delhi, initiating the third panel discussion. Dr. S. Irudaya Rajan, Professor, Centre for Development Studies, Kerala, presented the ‘Migration-scenario, challenges and way forward (Kerala specific). Mr. Jose Jacob K, Founder CEO, INTEGRO Infotech and Consulting and Senior Advisor, Bavarian Indian Centre for Business and University Cooperation, Bengaluru, spoke on ‘Building Strategic Cooperate Partnerships’ and emphasized the need to concentrate on developing effective strategies for resource mobilization. Ms. Sharon Lopez, Asst. Professor, dept. of Communication studies, Mount Carmel college exhorted everyone to educate the young to use the new media responsibly, through her presentation on, ‘Youth and new media-challenges, possibilities and online safety.
The silver jubilee celebration of Bangalore Rural Educational and Development Society (BREADS) concluded with commemorative function. In his inaugural address, Fr. Maria Arokiam Kanaga, Regional Superior, Don Bosco, South East Asia, appreciated the efforts of BREADS in social development and transformation. The organization has commendable influence and credibility in the society. Dr. Jayakumara, Director, Primary and Secondary Education, Government of Karnataka, assured the support of the government in the endeavours of BREADS in the protection and promotion of child rights.
Addressing the gathering, Ms. Margit Hellwig-Botte, Consul General, German Consulate, Bengaluru, said, “It is time to protect and care for the environment. It needs dedication and commitment and the stubbornness to work with people in the rural areas”. In his presidential address, Fr. Joyce Thonikuzhiyil SDB, Provincial, Salesian Province of Bangalore, said, “Those who have learned to collaborate and cooperate have prevailed”. He applauded the efforts of the organization in reaching out to the less privileged and the needy.
Music Album and Book Releases
On the occasion of the silver jubilee of the organization, a music album, ‘Belli Chukki’ (The Silver Star), containing thematic songs on the protection and promotion of the rights of children was released by Ms. Susanne Arzt, Project Manager, Don Bosco Mondo, Germany. Fr. Regi Jacob Pulicodu, Director, said, “This album aims at promoting the rights of children and establishing a child-friendly society where every child feels safe and secure, experience protection and has ample avenues for development and participation”.
Rt. Rev. George Rajendran SDB, Bishop, Thuckalay, Tamil Nadu, released the souvenir of BREADS, ‘Building the Future Together’, a book that attempts to capture the journey of the organization. Mr. Sonikutty George, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF, Hyderabad, released the book, ‘Championing Child Rights, A Resource Book on Strategies to Prevent Child Marriage’, a joint venture of BREADS and UNICEF. He said that the book is to be used as an advocacy tool.
“Chid rights are human rights. Building up children, is building the nation’, said Mr. Y Mariswamy, Chairperson, Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) while releasing the books in Kannada on Child Rights and Child Rights Clubs. Releasing the book, ‘Beyond the Deluge, Building the Future Together’, Martin Wilder, Managing Director, Don Bosco Mondo, Germany, said that the response of the organization during the natural calamity in Kerala and Karnataka recently is edifying and heart-warming.
Former Executive Directors of BREADS, Fr. CM Jose, Fr. George Mathew, Fr. Joseph Elevanal and Asst. Directors, Fr. Regi Jacob, Fr. James Plackattu, Fr. Jeeson Nelluvelil and Fr. Joy Manayanickal were honoured on the occasion for their yeomen services. Mr. Reinhard Heiserer, CEO, Jugend Eine Welt felicitated Fr. Joy Nedumparambil, Director, BREADS. Fr. Jose Koyickal SDB, Vice Provincial, Salesian Province of Bangalore honoured Mr. Tom Jose and Mr. Benny Augustine, staff of BREADS.
Children from Don Bosco Child Labour Mission (DBCLM), Davangere performed the prayer dance. Students from BOSCO, Bengaluru and Bengaluru Children’s Chorus, Lingarajapuram Bengaluru showcased their talents during the programme. Chekkutty, a mascot of the emerging Kerala that has survived the floods was distributed to the audience. Fr. Bobby K, SDB, Fr. Shalbin K and Ms. Cheryl compered, Fr. Joy Nedumparambil welcomed the gathering and Fr. PS George, Economer, Salesian Province of Bangalore proposed the vote of thanks.