Our trip to Kolkata this year was slightly different in that we included a student from our Salesian School in Battersea. The mix worked well and showed that the Salesian charism is the same in all our Salesian centres - a particularly good lesson to learn during the Bi-centenary of Don Bosco.
In our video for this year's trip we decided to make the focus solely Don Bosco Ashalayam. As with previous years, we were given a warm welcome by the priests and young people of the Ashalayam. In a break from previous years, we were allowed to visit the youngest children of the Ashalayam who are only 5 or 6 years old as well as visiting the girls who are looked after by the Sisters.
Nearly 50 children are being sponsored by people from this country and this is done through our school. It was heart warming to see them receiving gifts and letters from their sponsors. For the others, there were tee-shirts and school bags donated by St John Bosco College in Battersea. A contact in Woking also provided summer dresses for the girls.
A donor from the UK gave us money to treat the children to Sunday lunch when we were out there; caterers from a local restaurant provided a banquet! Later that afternoon the young people of the Ashalayam put on a show of song and dance for us; our students reciprocated with a couple of songs and a hymn at the end of the afternoon.
We were thanked for the on-going support that we offer the Ashalayam which helps to support the young people to learn a skill for life and also to receive an education. It was a moving and humbling moment in a trip that was filled with new and varied experiences for the students who chose to visit the Salesians of Don Bosco in Kolkata. In an age when the Church may seem irrelevant to some, our young people saw the Church in action working tireless to make the Kingdom of God a reality in our world.
Watch the video of the trip and view the photo gallery by visiting our Celebrating page.