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By our own correspondent

EAO Region, 10 August 2020 -- The World Confederation of the Past Pupils of Don Bosco is not very well known to many SDBs and other Salesian Family groups. We are proud of the thousands of young people who have received their education through the Preventive system of Don Bosco, but often we don't know too much about the identity, structure, formation and animation style of this SF (Salesian Family) group.

According to the World Confederation Statutes (ed. 2015, art. XX) the Past Pupils are organized into Local centres (units, unions, associations, chapters - e.g. Cebu DBTS etc), national or provincial Federations (e.g. Timor Leste Federation) and the World Confederation headed by the President and his Board (Council). Among the 15 World Councillors there are two for each Region (= Europe, America, Africa, Asia-Oceania) – one councillor for adults and second for the so-called GEX.

The recent online meeting involved Br. Dominic Nam (world delegate), Mr Rajesh Gupta and Mr Niel Evangelista (regional councillors), Mr Andre Launio (secretary), Fr Michael Biju and Fr Joseph Phuoc (SDB regional councillors) and Fr Václav Klement.

Thanks to the long term commitment of Mr Rajesh Gupta (current Asia-Oceania regional councillor for the Adults and between 2015-2018 also the Vice-president of the World Confederation, all participants could gain deeper insight into the experience of South Asia Past Pupils of Don Bosco. We highlight the most salient experiences gathered since 1993, starting with the first service in the Association:

  • Without friendships built through the personal visits and travels around most of the significant Don Bosco schools and colleges it is impossible to animate the Association
  • During the recent World Congress 2015 became enthusiastic due to the good project of the newly elected World Confederation President, Mr Michal Hort with clear goals, like database, business platform to sustain the GEX, projects from the EU, global database of the members – main tool of animation (importance of data: ‘Give Me Data’)
  • SDB provincial Delegates are not the most important, but the most important for the growth of the Association are the Union (Center, Chapter) delegates – Rectors. Usually the enthusiastic and interested delegates are the key to the growth of the Association

Regarding GEX (Young Past Pupils of Don Bosco) come the following best practices from both sides of the large Asia-Oceania Region, that comprises 24 SDB provinces and 30+ countries-territories:

  • GEX are being well developed in Timor Leste, Thailand and in the Philippines
  • GEX Indian model: DB Past Pupils business platform supports the activities of GEX, in such a way that the Past Pupils share the gift received from one to another generation. The Indian Federation Statutes contemplate GEX at all levels of the Association (local, provincial and federation)
  • GEX exists in each local Unit due to the ‘compulsory structure’ envisioned in the Indian Federation Statutes at each level. There is a life membership fee or annual membership
  • GEX are attracted by two specific programs: career guidance and job (employment) placement centers. During class 10-12 the Past Pupils visit Don Bosco schools and meet the students who have no clue about the variety of careers

Other interesting points that emerged in the South Asia – EAO video meeting:

  • We are sad about the cancellation of 2020 December Tokyo Regional Past Pupils Congress and also the current celebrations of 150th anniversary at national level since large gatherings are not permitted. How can we move within this restricted situation?
  • India has a good number of SDB provincial delegates who are ‘two in one’ (Delegate for both Past Pupils of Don Bosco and Salesian Cooperators), it might be good model for Br. Nam.
  • Mutual interaction between the local associations and between the Federations (country, province) is most important. it is important to involve more active units or federations within the larger realities (appointment as officers away from ‘home ground’).
  • Very active local Associations develop the following mission: free school for the poor, medical mission, youth camps, eye clinic, medical dispensary, legal counselling, involvement in social and political life (especially the North East of India)
  • In the recently begun missions out of India (e.g. Bangladesh 2008 and Nepal 2000) the Associations are not yet well developed.

Our hope is that the mutual exchange among the two parts of one Asia-Oceania region of Past Pupils of Don Bosco will provide many fruits for the Salesian mission in this part of the world.









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