Don Bosco initiatives in the city of Vadodara
Regarding the projects “Open Shelter” and “House of Love” Mix for Kids cooperates with the non-profit organisation “Die Sternsinger” to support Don Bosco projects in Vadodara. The ”Sternsinger” subsidize our funding to guarantee an annual minimum amount and then ensure that our donations get to the right places.
First contact and open shelter groups
In India there are about 10 million street children, girls and boys who grow up without parents. Some of them may have a home, but don’t want to go back there. Most of them come from broken families living in extreme poverty. Alcohol, violence and abuse are commonplace.
The Don Bosco brothers establish initial contact with the children and teenagers on the streets, at bus stops, railway stations and markets. This first encounter is reinforced by regular visits, because regular contact helps to shed fears and gain trust.
Children and young people receive support and are given the opportunity to come to Don Bosco open shelters, which are open communal facilities. Children can come and go as they please. Shelter workers show the children that they are their friends and that their help is unconditional. The children get something to eat and can wash up and do laundry. Games, fun and support during learning are part of the program, as are hygiene training and psychological counselling.
Craftmanship and creativity
Several courses that promote a whole range of skills are helping to support 290 street children in harnessing their craftsmanship and creativity. A total of 160 girls and 130 boys aged 18 and under are receiving vocational training that will give them a chance to support themselves in the future. The educational activities, all led by qualified teachers, include stained glass and artisan craft workshops, tailoring and beauty courses, and a sports and nutrition program.
Health camps and hygiene training
Five hundred street children struggling to survive have been given a lifeline in the form of health camps. At twelve of these camps, kids receive care and understanding for their worries and needs, alongside medical treatment and education, as well as an in-depth course on hygiene, healthy eating and potential health risks.
Orphanage “House of Love“
Selected boys from the region are invited to live in the Don Bosco Centre, also called the “House of Love”. It is up to the boys to decide whether they want to stay or not. Currently, the Don Bosco Centre Snehalaya is home to over a hundred boys aged between 6 and 18. But the Don Bosco brothers do much more: they give the children loving care, convey values and offer holistic education. They help with learning, motivate the children to play team sports, paint, dance and pursue other activities. They also promote the spiritual development of children without religious dogmas, help them develop a sense of community, closeness to nature, domestic skills and offer support with career choices and vocational training.
Our current donation amount funds the livelihood of 15 boys for one year.
Traditional Indian spice blends – a way out of poverty
Through decades of working with people in need, the Don Bosco organisation has found that supporting mothers is an effective way to support children and teenagers. We agree with Don Bosco that the support and help to self-determination of mothers is an important part of providing help to children.
For many years Don Bosco has organised and developed self-help groups in the slums and villages of India. Mix for Kids supports a project in Vadodara in which a group of women are involved in the production and marketing of regional spice blends.
The concept has already been successfully tested in other regions. In addition to hygiene training, the women receive training in regional spices and their processing as well as basic commercial knowledge.
Spice project still going strong
Since 2018, Mix for Kids has been funding the “Spice Woman” project, work that continued into 2021. As part of the project, women and mothers participate in self-help groups in which they learn to produce and market traditional Indian spices. This involves good understanding of the ingredients, techniques for drying and preservation, preparation of the spice blends, hygiene regulations, quality control, bookkeeping, marketing and maintaining a professional image. Mix for Kids firmly believes that the act of supporting and educating mothers has a positive ripple effect for children and teenagers living in slums.
Don Bosco initiatives in the city of Vadodara
The charity organization Don Bosco Mondo developed with us and our Don Bosco partners in Vadodara the following program and channels our funds to the right places.
Disadvantaged children gain trust and confidence in sporting competition
Since 2000, sport is a top priority at the Don Bosco School. The disadvantaged boys and girls have great sporting ambitions. Supervised by professional athletes, they frequently manage to win national competitions for themselves and for the school.
Holistic pedagogy and sporting successes may also pave the way for their future and into various jobs, e.g. in the defence services, police force or railways.
Characteristics of the sports-based approach to individual and community support are:
- Increased interaction and participation
- Experience of equality and teamwork
- Physical activity providing fun and a learning effect
- Health improvement
- Increased self-motivation
Soccer training and healthy meals, part 2
The existing sports and meal program is being expanded. Mix for Kids is financing jerseys and shorts for 50 children and whatever other equipment is needed to play soccer, as well as healthy and balanced meals for the players after training and entry fees for games and tournaments.
Soccer training and healthy meals
Ninety boys and girls from the slums received sports equipment and soccer training, as well as a healthy meal after every other practice. Under the supervision of professional coaches, the children train on a regular basis and even compete in tournaments. This helps them to develop qualities like perseverance and also to learn core values such as team spirit, fairness, tolerance and discipline from the game.