15 Youth Pages

posted Mar 8, 2018, 11:05 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 8, 2018, 11:05 AM ]

Smiles glow as YAA interact with kids at Snehasadan

Few things compare to the radiance of an innocent smile. It mesmerises us, brightens our own smiles and touches that child-like part of ourselves that we've tucked away with the rest of our heart's playthings deep within ourselves, as we've grown older with time. The members of Young Adults Association (YAA) of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Orlem, were truly blessed to experience the radiance of these smiles when we visited the Snehasadan Home for street girls at Mahakali, Andheri (East) on February 25, 2018.

Stepping out into the cool breeze of the early morning isn't something most office-goers are accustomed to, but that's precisely how the trip began. After gathering at the main gate of the church at 8:30 a.m., the YAA members (along with Fr Oniel) zoomed off towards Andheri East along the highway. Located behind the Sacred Heart Church, the Snehasadan Home is shaded by a canopy of lush greenery. As we entered the gates, the first thing we immediately noticed was how surprisingly peaceful this place was, even though it is located in the heart of one of Mumbai's most bustling suburbs. Vibrant paintings about conserving nature on the inner sides of the perimeter walls greeted us, as we walked down the path to the main entrance.

The home houses 27 girls, from the tiniest tots to those about to enter college. It works with the city's Child Welfare Services, giving young girls a place to call home, and people to call family. We knew that we would be greeted warmly. But nothing could prepare us for what we were about to encounter. Our preparations for this trip began a few weeks ago, as we planned action songs, games and interactive sessions, all of which were happily taken over by the sheer excitement and enthusiasm of the children.

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Listening to the aspirations & needs of young working adults

An enthusiastic group of 36 young adults met with Bishop Allwyn D'Silva, Fr Felix D'Souza, Fr John Almeida (Joseph Cardijn Technical School), Sr Christy (NDWM) and Adrian Rosario (Management Consultant) on March 4 at St Anthony's Hall, Vakola.

In his opening remarks, Bishop Allwyn touched on the history of relations between the Church and workers, starting from the Industrial Revolution. It was only with Rerum Novarum, and later, the Young Christian Workers' Movement (YCW) started by Cardinal Cardijn that workers were paid rightful attention. Currently, there seemed to be a growing gap between the Church and young working adults, and hence the need was felt to listen to this group and understand their aspirations and needs. Fr Felix elaborated that youth over the age of 25 were not included in any Church group. Most of the YCW groups have depleted membership and were not attracting young adults as they did earlier. The questions before the Church were: What are these adults looking for that we are not able to address, and what meaningful support can we offer them?

Speaking about working persons in general, Mr Adrian Rosario categorised them into three groups – the initial years of employment which included choice of a career and search for suitable employment during the ages of 21-25, the stabilising phase between the ages of 25-35, and the growth and development phase beyond 35 years. The Church has been involved in career guidance, and in a few cases offered placement services, which sadly were not utilised by many Christian youth, compared to those from other faiths. The later phases of employment were increasingly facing challenges in terms of promotability, wage constraints, layoffs and closing down or relocation of industries. Lastly, it was a point of concern that in the All India Census 2011, unemployment was highest among Christians in our country. 

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