MEANDERINGS FROM MAWLAI
by Thomas Vattathara
Mawlai Parish, Shillong (INDIA) - In a major step towards the Salesian Youth Plan for Dominic Savio Parish, Mawlai, Shillong, Don Bosco Youth Mission & Educational Services (DBYES) Guwahati undertook a survey of the Catholic youth of Mawlai parish. This was an attempt to assess the needs, problems and expectations of the youth in the area. The objective of the survey was to create a baseline of information in order to formulate a comprehensive
action plan for youth work in Mawlai parish.
The Survey Schedule was designed to obtain important categories of information about Personal Background, Family Background, Youth Work in the Community and Personal Issues concerning theYouth of the parish. It was decided earlier in the youth pastoral meetings to entrust the
important work of data collection to the youth of the parish in order to inculcate a sense of participation and involvement in the work. As many as 35 youth members from different dongs of the parish were given necessary training to conduct the survey that covered 825 respondents , the majority of which were school students, while the ratio of female respondents was higher then that of males.
Despite the hard and efficient work of everybody connected to this project, the study suffered the constraints of lack of adequate time allotted for data collection compared to the number of respondents and low levels of education of the respondents. Some of the major findings of the survey brought to light many crucial issues such as the need for increased co-operation among youth groups; promotions of culture and training for self employment; need for organised
youth work; transparency and openness of youth workers; need for economic independence; the effective role that Church can play in solving community problems and need for a parish youth centre. The study further revealed that disunity is seen to be the problem that is experienced by most number(55.3%) of the respondents. Lack of co-operation is seen to be the most serious problem, experienced by 52% of the respondents and is the most prominent(rank 1) problem for most number(30.8%). Lack ofpirituality is the next keenly felt problem.
Providing co-operation among youth groups, promotion of culture and training for self employment were ranked 1 by most number of respondents when they were asked to identify three major areas that youth should concentrate on. Likewise poverty, drinking alcohol and misunderstandings were ranked 1 by most respondents who were asked to identify the three
main problems in the community today. In their answer to the question regarding the extent of help rendered by the religious institutions, faith formation, education and spiritual help were ranked 1 by most respondents.
Some of the interesting demographic and psychographic findings revealed that the gender ratio is highly in favour of the females, which is not keeping with the gender ratio of the state, but which can be an indicative of the leading role that women in Meghalaya assume in social life. There are more women in business and government service than men.. A movement
from both city and village to town is seen in the responses. Wooden & tin
roofed and wooden/thatched houses are more prevalent than concrete houses. More than half the number of respondents have tape recorder, TV, and radio at home. Only one or two members earn money in most of the families.
The success of this major project of DBYES is well achieved if as a result of these findings a start can be made by the society and the Church in particular to have a new balanced attitude towards youth work and development of youth by initiating positive steps