DONBOSCO -NAVJEEVAN SOCIETY, CHANDIGARH
Diocese of Simla – Chandigarh
Navjeevan Church / Don Bosco Centre, the Salesian presence at Chandigarh was begun on 6th January 2001, the concluding day of the Great Jubilee. The name of the church itself has reference to new life in Christ. The newly built church was blessed and inaugurated on this day by Bishop Gerald John Mathias of Simla-Chandigarh diocese.
It was at the invitation of the then Bishop, Rt. Rev. Gilbert Rego, that the province accepted to have a Salesian presence in Chandigarh. There were a lot of difficulties with regard to the purchase of the land and formalities with the Government had to be settled before we could take possession of the land. It was Fr. Joy Marangattikala (M.M) who did all the groundwork for the Salesians to take possession of the land that was originally allotted to the diocese. By his hard work and perseverance, he was able to clear all the hurdles. Once the land was allotted to us, Fr. Joseph Chittattukalam (C.A) did the supervision of the entire building work. As a result we have the beautifully built Navjeevan Church and Don Bosco Centre in Chandigarh.
At present, Navjeevan Church serves as a Mass centre for the Catholics of nearby areas. The centre also offers courses and seminars in Catechetics, Youth Ministry and other related topics for young people, teachers, religious and lay leaders. It also offers marriage encounter programmes for the Catholic youth of Chandigarh.
The Centre offers life skills and personality development programmes for youngsters, especially from the slums / colonies. Basic and advanced computer literacy programmes twinned with spoken English classes are conducted on a daily basis from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
One of the salient features of the centre is the help offered to school dropout girls to pass their class X, XII, Graduation exams through Panjab University. Post-Graduation studies (MA) is in the process of planning.
Functional literacy programmes are held in 17 slums of Chandigarh. Non-formal vocational training is offered in driving, cosmetology, cutting and stitching and through self-help projects. There are nearly 100 self-help groups with a membership of more than 1800.
The work for the young at risk got a real boost under His excellency General (Retd) S.F.Rodrigues, the former Governor of Punjab and the Administrator of the the U.T of Chandigarh and his wife, Madam Jean Rodrigues. A children’s village was set up with housing facility for 300 girls and 600 boys. The entire expense is met by the U.T. Administration. They sought the collaboration of the Salesians to run it efficiently. At present there are about 83 girls and 176 boys. Besides academic studies, great emphasis is laid on vocational training.
A centre for dyslexic children is being conducted at Sector 47. There are about 43 children attending day shelter cum class.
The state of Haryana has come in a big way to us offering in the running of an IDU project for the district of Ambala. The Project started in the month of April 2010.
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