India - A school for children of tribal and marginalized people to break the cycle of poverty

03 July 2018

(ANS - Azimganj) - The town of Azimganj, in the district of Murshidabad, India, was an important commercial hub in the 18th century and hosts many Jain temples that testify to the glories of distant times. The Salesians arrived here in 1966 and are currently active in the field of education and parish and social activities. Among the various initiatives carried out since 1966, the religious opened the "Don Bosco" school with elementary and middle or junior high school classes.

Attended by minors coming from contexts of great misery, it welcomes children mainly of tribal origin or belonging to the lower castes and who survive among a thousand privations. In many cases, they were born of undernourished mothers and were undernourished babies, a factor that has caused so many of their cognitive delays. They live in poor huts without electricity or toilets. Parents cannot even pay the tuition fees that amount to one euro a month.

The children who attend the "Don Bosco" are the first of the family of origin to go to school, and this triggers a series of problems. First of all, nobody is able to help them with their homework; secondly, there are many parents who prefer to direct them to work, rather than encourage them to finish their studies, because they do not have the tools to understand how important education is to break the vicious circle of ignorance and exploitation in which they find themselves born.

The Spiritual Sons of Don Bosco do their utmost to help these 1,300 minors, including elementary and junior high school children. They have scarce means available, but a lot of ingenuity: to make up for the lack of blackboards, they have painted the walls black and write on them with chalk; students follow the lessons sitting on the floor, because there are no desks.

Ever more urgent is the need to purchase chairs and desks, blackboards, bookshelves and books, audiovisual equipment to guarantee a minimum of dignity to students and teachers and to help and support the most problematic students to overcome difficulties, especially through the use of books and audio-video material that can better stimulate learning and foster their curiosity.

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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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