Bosco Reach Out – Annual Report 2014

Message

“Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in service,   give me the strength never to disown the poor”. These word of the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore has been the prayer-inspiration of Bosco Reach Out as it steps in to the ruby years of service towards the development of persons through empowerment. The self-assessment of our thirty-year service especially of the poor and marginalized is based on the litmus test provide by the Father our nation Mahatma Gandhi: “I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and weakest man/woman whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him/ her. Will he/she gain anything by it? Will it restore him/her to a control over his/her own life and destiny.” Bosco Reach Out is a fair winner in our self-assessment by this standard when we take into account the success stories we can enumerate. Some of these are recorded in the ANNUAL REPORT 2014.

The ISCD Project (first Phase) has been brought to a successful completion in 2014.   717 SHGs and 32 CLFs have brought better economic prospects to 7568 families in 322 villages in 10 regions of 7 districts of Assam and Meghalaya.   The year saw 650 persons mainly women undergoing intensive skills training programmes in micro-enterprise. That was aimed at capacitating them to move on to the next level where they function through BLFs. Hectic planning and organizational work have been put in to commence ISCDP (next phase) from October 2014. Misereor, Germany is our partner funding agency. Through our collaboration with Childaid network, Germany we have been able to bring over 4000 out-of school children into our community evening schools. Through the relentless efforts of the Eye Care team the project saw expansion into three more districts of Assam. A total of 760 cataract surgeries and 67 other surgeries have been performed on patients who have been brought to RIO, Guwahati or the District hospitals in Morigaon and Halflong.   Patients from remote villages whose eye sight has been restored and now see light again are grateful to “Light for the World”, Austria who is our sponsoring agency.   The TDF programmes, funded by NABARD, have nearly 2000 families beginning to generate income from their otherwise unutilized land through horticulture or rubber plantation. The WSHG project, thanks to NABARD, have been instrumental in forming 514 SHGs in BTAD and Karbi Anglong, and bank accounts have been opened and credit linkages are being established. 161 poor   families have Dwelling houses with the support of NABARD, Assam and HFHI, New Delhi, and nearly half of the 100 houses intended for the rural poor in Assam have been completed, thanks to Don Bosco Mission, Turin. Through collaboration with Manos Unidas, Spain, 1012 families have live stock farms and scientifically grown vegetable gardens in the Goalpara district. We run 2361 skills training programmes for unemployed youth and 1666 have been given job placements.

The preferential option for the poor is a deliberate decision of Bosco Reach Out in keeping with the spirit of Don Bosco. We continue to listen attentively to the “cry of the poor”. Our programmes and projects for the promotion of the poor arises from an attentiveness which considers the other “in a certain sense as one with ourselves”. This entails appreciating the poor in their goodness, in their experience of life and in their culture. This love for the poor impels us to serve the other not out of necessity or vanity, but rather because he or she is esteemed as of great value, and on this basis we accompany the poor on the path of liberation, says Pope Francis, the Time Magazine’s Man of year.   This is indeed the driving force behind all that is made to happen in and through Bosco Reach Out.

I wish to express my sincere sentiments of appreciation and gratitude to each and every one of the administrative staff and field staff of Bosco Reach Out who make our vision a mission and a reality.   Special Thanks to all our partners without whom, all these activities and interventions would not be possible. To all of them my sincere thanks.

My hope and wish is that the motivational force, enthusiasm and dedication of the staff of Bosco Reach Out will make the coming year and the ruby decade as fruitful as the earlier ones. With heart-felt thanks to all our benefactors, partners and collaborators, and with a prayer imploring the blessing of the Almighty on each one of you,

Yours cordially,

Fr. Thomas Kunnappillil, SDB

(Director)