Every year, the Austrian NGO “Jugend Eine Welt” organizes the campaign “Day of Street Children” around Don Bosco Day, January 31, and invites in particular young people and school classes to participate. This year, the campaign focuses on the plight of India's railway kids and how the Salesians are helping them. As special guest of honour, Father Jiji Kalavanal SDB from “Don Bosco Image” in Bangalore spoke at several events organized by Jugend Eine Welt in Vienna, Linz and Innsbruck and met high ranking Church officials and politicians like Bishop Dr. Manfred Scheuer and Governor Thomas Stelzer from Upper Austria.
Fr Jiji Kalavanal SDB was accompanied by the young Indian actor Lokesh Kumar who himself had lived on the streets and in the railway station of Bangalore since the age of 7. He described how BOSCO changed the course of his life, offering him a new home, health care, education and vocational training. He is proud to be a former “BOSCO boy” and now returns the help he received from the Salesians: he regularly visits the street children program, offers training and encourages street children to follow his example.
For Reinhard Heiserer, director from Jugend Eine Welt, Lokesh Kumar´s biography is a wonderful testimony for the efficiency of the pedagogical system of Don Bosco: “Even a child that has spent so many years on the streets like Lokesh can return to a normal life and be an inspiration for other children, as Father Jiji has shown in his impressive video ´This is ME!´using the music and lyrics of a popular song.”
Video “This is ME!” from Don Bosco Image: https://youtu.be/sN3eM7HpPmw
Further information about the campaign “Day of Street Children” can be found at: www.tagderstrassenkinder.at