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By Lauren Hichaaba and Michael Gartland

Melbourne, Australia -- On Saturday the 27th of October, the Cagliero Project celebrated 10 years of international volunteer placements. Over 40 people gathered to participate in mass held at St. John’s, Clifton Hill, celebrated by vice-provincial and Cagliero board Chairperson Bernie Graham, as well as John Papworth, (board member), Mosese Tui (rector and parish priest in Massey, Auckland) and Frank Moloney (Provincial at the time of Cagliero’s inauguration).

Afterwards, the celebration moved to a nearby function room, as past volunteers caught up with one another, shared what they had been doing since their overseas placements and fondly reminisced about their volunteer days. Proceedings were hosted by Cagliero Directors Ms. Lauren Hichaaba and Ms. Romina Martiniello, who had worked hard to ensure that not only volunteer voices would be heard, but also the voices of the host communities and even those of the young people who the volunteers had worked with.

As such, pre-recorded messages from volunteers who could not make it were played, as well as messages from some of the children in the overseas countries that the Cagliero project has served. Fr Mosese also spoke on behalf of Samoa, where he had been stationed and seen many Cagliero volunteers.

In 10 years, countless young people around the world have been served. On top of this however, an incredibly affectionate, tight-knit community has been formed, forged through the similar experiences as volunteers representing the Salesians of Don Bosco.

There have been major benefits not only overseas but also in the Australia-Pacific Province. Firstly, there have been nine volunteers that served directly in our Province over the past ten years in both Alafua and Salelologa in Samoa.

Many of our professional lay staff have taken up formal employment with the Salesians after their experiences overseas. This includes Steph Wood as the camp manager (2008 Thailand) and now her successor Paul Poutney (2010 Samoa). Romina Martiniello (2014 Cambodia) is now a full-time employee in the youth ministry department. We also have a number of past volunteers that teach in our Salesian schools including Elissa Galante (2012 Samoa), Declan Crowe (2013 Samoa) and Tristan O’Brien (2012 Cambodia). This is not only testament to the Cagliero Project but to youth ministry at large as many of these past volunteers have also been actively involved in the various youth ministry activities of the province.

Beyond that there are a number of our past volunteers who work within the Catholic Church including Felicity Walter (2014 Solomon Islands) and Michael Walter (2010 Cambodia). Catherine Levey (2013 Samoa) and Katie Sabel (2016 Samoa) have both taken up long term teaching positions in the Tiwi islands in Catholic schools there.

Looking around the room on Saturday evening nearly every single one of our past volunteers currently works with young people – Social workers, teachers and youth workers and all do so with a deep Salesian spirit.

The following video is by some of our volunteers talking about what the Cagliero Project has done in their lives:

The Cagliero Project is not perfect but we are so proud of all our volunteers and believe they have made a great contribution to our AUL Province and beyond.






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