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Christmas celebrated by BOSCO in Bangalore with deprived children

By Sony Mathew
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Kolkata, Jan. 2.    Bangalore: Bangalore Oniyavara Seva Coota (BOSCO) organized a unique Christmas gathering in the city of Bangalore for children from various walks of life on 25 December 2012. Over 1000 children flocked at BOSCO Mane [Bosco Home], Chamarajpet to celebrate Christmas with Santa Clause.
This year's Christmas was a special day of joy and happiness for the deprived children in and around Bangalore city as they sang and danced with Santa Clause. They belonged to different castes and Creeds, speaking different languages. Each child also received a Christmas gift from Santa, and the festivity culminated with a sumptuous meal.

BOSCO a non-governmental organization, of the Salesian Province of Bangalore (INK), India, has been working with these children on the streets of Bangalore, Karnataka, since 1980. BOSCO rescues, rehabilitates and mainstreams an average of 7000 children/young at risk each year from streets / slums and turns them into responsible educated individuals who grow to be economically independent young adults and contributing citizens. The services are provided through 8 rehabilitation centers and 6 street presence areas in Bangalore city. The major services include, rescue and rehabilitation of street and abused children, health care, counseling, education both formal and non-formal, family reunification, advocacy, awareness campaign and involvement in the policy level changes.

The day's programme had been planned to bring children from various areas and slums of Bangalore city and share with them the joy and peace of Christmas. Children staged a number of cultural programmes to mark the birth of Jesus who descended on earth to proclaim and obtain justice for the poor and downtrodden and voice the concerns of the voiceless.

Rev. Fr. Pradeep from the Society of St. Paul's delivered the message of Christmas and wished the children the peace and happiness of the season. They were happy and jubilant as they cut the Christmas cake and danced with Santa Clause.  The celebration made them aware that they had a privileged place in the heart of the babe born in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago.

BOSCO has also formed Caring Communities  in Bangalore wherein community members come forward willingly and play active roles in child rescue and rehabilitation process. Currently BOSCO is piloting the foster care programme for the country.

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