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By Mr. Niel Evangelista
GEX Councilor Asia-Oceania
[GEX=Giovani Exallievi = Young Past Pupils]

GEX Asia-Oceania Region, 14 September 2020 -- 'What attracts the hearts of our young people to continue their journey with Don Bosco also after leaving our institutions?' - This and many other questions were raised, commented on and shared during the two-hour online meeting on Sunday (Sept 13) with the India-Mumbai province federation of Past Pupils (INB) and with one local centre of our 'Bosconians' of Sumba in Indonesia vice-province (INA).

It is hard to imagine two so different groups of Past Pupils:

  • one from the megacity of Mumbai (financial and movie hub of India) and the other from a rural setting in Sumba of Indonesia),
  • one the driving force of the Indian Past Pupils (since 1966) with 15 active large units and 3000 members and the other just slowly starting,
  • one large group of 14 SDB delegates with 24 Past pupils and the other with a newly appointed provincial delegate and fresh graduates of secondary school
  • one multi-religious group of Past Pupils with a rich experience, regular events and activities and the other just

But at the same time it was striking to hear exactly the same personal experience and common dreams:

  • our Bosconians - Past Pupils are attracted by the Salesian family spirit, joyful environment of happiness, trust of their mentors
  • our Bosconians - Past Pupils yearn for more close presence of the SDB Brothers and Priest among our students during their school years
  • our Bosconians - Past Pupils are very busy in their younger years (GEX age limit is 35) and is not easy to come together at that period of life
  • our Bosconians - Past Pupils are well motivated by their enthusiastic delegates and try to 'give back' to their younger generation what they received

Probably the main surprise was the good news about 163 days of uninterrupted Covid19 solidarity volunteer action by Mumbai Past Pupils, who claim already more than 2.5 million meals distributed to the less-privileged communities in the megacity area. This volunteer work continues today! The best compliment one participant shared: "You are doing a great job, like the Salesians themselves!"

And the surprisingly large presence of 14 SDB delegates from Mumbai province offers wonderful inspiration also for other Asian provinces to be more closely animated and interested in the largest group of the Salesian Family that celebrates its 150th anniversary just this year!

We give thanks for the support of both respective provincials and rectors, for the enthusiasm of the provincial delegates to the Past Pupils. The World Delegate, Br Dominic Nam also shared the draft of the new 'Delegate's Handbook' that invites them to listen, interpret, be inspired and act as true animators.













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