India – “Be Peacemakers”: a call to cultivate and care for God’s Creation

02 December 2022

(ANS – Naigaon) – Don Bosco High School and Junior College, Naigaon, Palghar District, Maharashtra, hosted its first-ever interdisciplinary exhibition ‘BE PEACEMAKERS’ on the 26th and 27th of November 2022, 10:00 am – 5:30 pm, to showcase the talents of their students, whilst fostering an atmosphere of peace, harmony and well-being.

The inauguration took place on the 26th of November, by eminent, Senior Scientist (Retd.) at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Indian Space Research Organisation, Mr. David Samikkannu Antuvan. The Peace Prayer ushered reverence into the proceedings. In unison, the audience repeated the Peace Pledge with outstretched hands. 

The logo was unveiled, a week prior, by Fr. Biju Michael, sdb, General Councillor for the South Asia region, during his Extraordinary Visitation. He congratulated and thanked the management, staff and students and wished them the very best in this endeavour.

“This exhibition is a boost to the curriculum of the students - an exemplary event for other educational institutions. The Salesians of the institution, along with the staff and management, have made this remarkable event”, said Mr. Antuvan, Chief Guest.

Conceptualised by Fr. Joaquim Fernandes, sdb, (Idea Generation and Concept Development), this mega event, was the fruit of meticulous planning and execution. The staff and students were ably led by Fr. Dominic Martis (Executive Director), Tr. Dorothy Fernandes (Head of Exhibition Management), Tr. Supriya Rodrigues (Exhibition Coordinator), and members of the management and steering committee.

“The exhibition emphasised the joy of learning and caring for the earth as it is our responsibility for a ‘conversion towards a different lifestyle, a different way of thinking and behaving’ to protect the planet and to promote peace and be peacemakers” said Fr. Fernandes, Vice Principal.

At the onset, online research was conducted. The data was collected, collated and analysed. Thereafter, it was taken up for research by Fr.Fernandes and the Principal Investigator, Mr. Conrad Saldanha.

The logo was designed by Mr. Christopher D’Silva, and the captivating colour scheme was created by Mr. Wilfred Fernandes, Founder and Director at ‘Young’ company.

The exhibition integrated three themes - The Salesian Charism, Care for Creation by Pope Francis and The Sustainable Development Goals as specified by the UN. Teaching students to connect with nature and the divine, enhancing creative instincts, guiding them towards peace with themselves and others, inculcating a feeling of solidarity with the poor, critical thinking, investigative skills and seeking the truth were the main objectives.

“Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be ‘protectors’ of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment,” said Pope Francis during the homily at His Inauguration of the Encyclical letter on Care of our Common Home, on 24th May, 2015.

“Nature is the art of God. It speaks softly, you have to listen to it carefully,” said Tr. Supriya Rodrigues.

Various projects on ‘aquatic, terrestrial and aerial life’ adorned the corridors and classrooms.

“Be a wise man, ocean is not a garbage can”, said Aadya Sonar of the Kindergarten section, while presenting her artwork.

Exhibits based on the life of our patron saint, Don Bosco, and the serene Prayer room were appreciated by many.

“I greeted so many people and they greeted me back. I had an opportunity to spread love and my shyness is slowly going away. I feel more confident,” gushed Ryan Messi from Std. VIII, stationed in the room illustrating the life of Don Bosco.

Mr. Antuvan conducted 3 sessions on ‘Inspiring Experiences of Rocket Science’ with the older pupils and imparted invaluable information and exhilarating videos on launches, rockets, satellites and the solar system.

An entire hall transformed into Space Zone complete with spacecraft, the solar system and even astronauts walking around. One got a planetarium experience in the dome set up by Polestar Planetarium.

Various sections displayedwork on Health, Anatomy, Diseases, Computer games, Cosmology, Pollution and Climate Change, Loss of Biodiversity, Water Conservation, Global Inequality and the Mystery of the Universe. Photo opportunities presented themselves, at every nook and corner.

The Art-for-Peace hall, displayed remarkable work by students, under the tutelage of Mr. C. D. Jain, a well-known artist who has also been a consultant with UNICEF. Many of his world-class paintings also adorned the walls.

Guests got engrossed in live experiments (Chemistry laboratory), on how science can be applied to daily life, whilst the biology laboratory gave an insight into the human skeletal system, preserved specimens and observation under microscopes.

Breath-taking traditional Indian patterns made with coloured powder (rangoli) and creative art work done by the students were other big attractions.

“It is a wonderful partnership between students, teachers and parents. I have never seen children so completely involved. The exhibits are so beautiful and the exhibition well organized,” said Sara Barboza, a parent.

Projects on ‘hydroponics’ – a new method of growing plants without soil and using coco peat were presented. A specimen of a mangrove plant was also exhibited in a plea to save the mangroves.

A niche on the playground featured the skills of the scouts and guides. In addition to the plethora of displays, one could feast and have fun at the food and games stalls prepared by our teachers, parents and students.

“Visitors and parents were captivated by the composure, confidence, conviction, and knowledge of the students - all on clear display.” said Tr. Dorothy Fernandes.

Come day two, the staff were all seen in identical t-shirts, in solidarity with the noble cause of being peacemakers. The institution was abuzz with innumerable activities taking place simultaneously.

“I am very happy about the successful execution of the concept ideated by Fr. Fernandes. I congratulate him, the students, and staff for the team effort and sense of belongingness”, said Fr.Martis.

Mr. Nicholas Correa, author and Executive Director New Horizon Group of Schools, spoke about the hospitality and the synergy he experienced all through his visit. “This exhibition comes at the right time. The world needs peace and peacemakers”, he added.

Both days saw streams of about 5,000 visitors.

Our school wishes to thank the lay collaborators and sponsors for their cooperation towards making the ‘Be Peacemakers’ Exhibition a great success.

Mrs Gail D. Fernandes and Fr. Joaquim Fernandes, sdb


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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