The Salesian presence in Kollam began in October 1975, when the Parish of St Stephen (erected in the year 1800), with its Church and adjacent property was handed over to the Salesians by the diocese of Kollam in Kerala. There are many welfare programs launched for the upliftment of the fisher folk such as FCDP(Fishermen Community Development Programme), TMS – Theeradesa Mahila Society (Coastal area Women's Society) and Don Bosco Career Guidance Centre.
Tsunami Relief Operations
After the Tsunami disaster the project sprund into action with immediate relief activities for the most affected people of the coastal villages.
The project also did actual survey of the damage and presented the figures to the governemnt and to the concerned departments demanding proper and promt action. The FCDP is making efforts at advocacy so that the promised relief and assistance reaches the people who are affected.
To uplift the fisherfolk, the Quilon Don Bosco Society was founded in 1979. The Society was registered in 1984 as the Fishermen Community Development Programme (FCDP), extending its services to the fisherfolk community all along the coastal belt. FCDP helps all men, women and children of the fisherfolk community to improve their education, health, culture, economic status, employment opportunities, social awareness and social action.
The different activities of FCDP include:
- Education: Promotion of education through the Nursery school (kindergarten) and a Lower Primary School is done by the project. There are over 350 children who benefit through these activities.
- Supplementary Education is provided for the coastal children. The aim of the activity is to assist in their studies as well as prevent dropouts from these children. This is organised for children in classes 1 and 2.
- Remedial Education is offered for children from class 3 to 10. This helps them to remain in school as well as do their studies well. Motivation and direction is part of this remedial education programme.
- Balavedi (Children’s Forum). This is programme organised for the children between the ages of 7 and 15 to develop their intellectual, artistic, sports and cultural talents. This also enables them to exercise and develop their leadership abilities as well as become aware and take up actions against social evils.
- Vanithavedi (Women’s Forum). It is for young women between the ages of 15 and 25 years from the coastal areas. There are 310 members in 15 groups. Each group has regular weekly classes on different useful topics. The above groups are guided by three animators who are in constant touch with the members and their families and they discuss the problems of the members and their cooperation in the family. Small saving schemes for Vanithavedi to inculcate in the habit of saving are started.
- Fisherman Youth Group. This is a scheme for the married and unmarried young men of the coastal area who are engaged in fishing and allied activities. The aim of this group is to give them social, economic, cultural and political awareness and to evolve appropriate intervention strategies in strengthening the fishing community. In this group there are 450 youth from the 5 coastal region divided into to 10 groups.
- Non Fisherman Youth Group. This scheme is for both the married and unmarried youth of the coastal area who are not engaged in fishing or allied activities. It is platform for youth to involve in constructive social, cultural and economic activities, which will pave the way for overall progress of the community and the society. This group has 125 members in 4 centres.
- Credit union. This programme helps to keep in touch with the fishermen youth and inculcate in them the habit of saving in the small saving scheme for them. Since the need for credit facilities is very much, FCDP started a Credit Union for the fishermen Group members. As per the scheme a loan up to Rs. 10,000/- is given to the members of the credit union which has to be paid back through daily savings.
- Youth Employment Services. This is a programme through which educated youth are helped to obtain jobs in various fields of work.
- Fisherman Welfare Society and Don Bosco Fish Marketing Centre. FCDP has been instrumental in starting two societies for fishermen for auctioning fish. This intervention helps fishermen to obtain fair prices for their fish. FCDP also advances loans to the fishermen for various purposes like purchasing of boats, nets, boat repairs etc.
2. Youth development programmes
Hand made Greeting card unit, Tailoring and electric embroidery classes, school of arts, Don Bosco band troupes are some of the programmes organised for the development of the youth.
To provide access for the children of fishermen and those in difficulties due to social and economical situations, we have begun a residential facility for school going children. This will be offered to the children above class 5.
For the next years admissions the priority will be given to children from those families affected by tsunami. These days the constructions for providing adequate space and facilities in the boardnig had begun.
St. Stephen’s Church at Thope comprises of 2108 families, mostly fisher folk belonging to the backward classes. There are many activities for the welfare and development of the people of the area. Besides taking care of their spiritual needs, there is emphasis on educational, social, cultural and development needs.
St. Stephen’s Church
Kollam – 691 006
Phone : (0474) 274.25.44
: (0474) 275.02.56
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org