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By our own correspondent

Rome, 11 September 2020 -- Since July 2020 more than 12 Past Pupils of Don Bosco Federations in their 'Asia - Oceania Region' have been visited: TLS (Timor Leste), FIN-FIS (Philippines North and South), THA (Thailand), GIA (Japan), PGS (Papua New Guinea), INN (India-New Delhi), Mongolia, (AUL) Australia, CIN (Hong Kong and Macau), MYM (Myanmar) and Cambodia. Before the end of September the following online visits are on the timetable: INA (Indonesia), INB (India - Mumbai), VIE (Vietnam), INT (India-Tiruchy), Pakistan and Pacific (Samoa). As of now about one hundred Past Pupil leaders took part in these meeting.

In this way the two Asia-Oceania regional councillors - Mr Rajesh Gupta (Adults) and Mr Neil Evangelista (GEX-Young), with the World Confederation Delegate Br. Dominic Nam and the EAO Regional Councillor Fr. Joseph Phuochave had a wonderful opportunity to get to know many SDB delegates and the Past Pupils leadership at national and local level in some countries.

What can we learn from our Past Pupils? Just as the whole East Asia-Oceania region is famous for its variety so also the experience of DB Past pupils is multi-coloured:

  • In one country SDB and FMA past pupils work together together as 'Salesian Past Pupils' accompanied by both religious
  • In one country there is a Delegate for the Past Pupils appointed who is one of the Past Pupils, deeply committed to the Salesian mission
  • All around the Asia-Oceania countries the coming together of the Past Pupils is based on their affection - nostalgia for the Don Bosco environment
  • In one country there are 25,000 Past Pupils and 50% of them are followed up on the database. In another country we keep in touch with 80% of Past Pupils
  • The key person for each Union are the leaders - animators of each year batch (graduation) who contact the others
  • Many of the Past Pupils became more active as a group during the Covid19 pandemic to assist people in need (within their school or beyond)

There are emerging quite few common challenges to embrace and follow up:
  • How to attract our younger generation graduates and involve them in the Past Pupils Association
  • What is the added value (merit) for the graduates of our schools to come together as one Group of the Association?
  • How to go beyond the social gatherings of the Past Pupils (homecoming, sport events without SDB presence or any Salesian input)
  • Involvement of the Past Pupils according the real needs of their alma mater (job placement, career guidance, counselling, scholarship)
  • How to follow the Past pupils with often changing or diminishing numbers of consecrated Salesians (Brothers-Priests) in our presences
  • How to keep in touch among the Past pupils in their very busy life (importance of social media within the Association)
The 150th anniversary of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco (June 2020-2021) is ongoing. Among the effective contributions to the development of their Association, is a simple Survey - Questionnaire 2020: YOUTUBE LINK; Any Past Pupil of Don Bosco can contribute to this opportunity QUESTIONNAIRE LINK (Google form - online format).

Resources for the animation of Past Pupils - Handbook, Statutes, Animation

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