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First SDB does PhD from Don Bosco University, Guwahati

By C.M. Paul
Father C.J.George, SDB
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Guwahati, Dec. 11. Kolkata province Salesian is the first member of Salesian Family India to complete doctoral thesis from Assam Don Bosco University Guwahati. Father C.J. George Chempakathinal is among the first batch of doctoral candidates to complete PhD from ADBU in 2015. Five candidates were conferred doctoral degree during 4th Convocation, on 3rd September making Father George 6th candidate to complete doctoral program this year.
His pioneering research on the need for psychosocial interventions to heal and empower street children has found that the street kids out smart ''normal kids'' in their life skills.

Father C. J. George, Vice-principal of Salesian College Sonada (Darjeeling) conducted the study as part of his doctoral thesis presented at Assam Don Bosco University (ADBU) Guwahati, 11th December 2015.

Father George has worked with Don Bosco Ashalayam group which has 25 street children intervention centres spread out in Calcutta and neighbouring Howrah and Nadia districts for 18 years.

Recent statistics claim that there are some 18 million street children in India.

''The study is significant as one of my co-workers young Father George, soon after his priestly ordination, ventured out into the streets to save children,'' says Father Anotny Thaiparampil who works for street children in Lucknow sending his good wishes to Fr George who also has worked as Rector and Principal in Calcutta's two premier English medium Don Bosco Schools at Bandel and Liluah for some 10 years before joining Salesian College.

Veteran street priest Father Thaiparampil started working for street children who lived on railway platforms in Howrah Station on 8th December 1985 renting the same room in neighbouring Pilkana slums in which the French novelist of The City of Joy fame Dominique Lapierre stayed when he wrote the novel.

The four year-long study conducted under the guidance of the ADBU School of Social Sciences Director Dr Riju Sharma is entitled: \''Need for Psychosocial Interventions to Heal and Empower Children in Street Habitat: A Phenomenological and Ethnographic Study.\''

''The present research is focused on children who have lived and are living in street situations in comparison with children who live life away from the street in normal family settings,'' says Father George explaining the core of his study.

The doctoral research included explorative study with descriptive method with the assistance of observation, survey, questionnaire and focused group discussions involving children in both street habitat and normal home settings.

''Children in the street have a very painful past,'' says Father George listing some of the cruel situations in which children fall victims of human passions, revenge, rape, anger or other negative passions which traumatize them for life.

Psychosocial interventions and support services aim to change behaviour and support people who are affected by addictions of alcohol and drug use. These services are provided within community settings.

His guide Dr Sharma does not hesitate to state that ''the study offers assistance to academicians to empower many more to work for the cause of children offering assistance to grassroots-level workers with scientifically proven methods and interventions to assist children in the street habitat.''

The panel of examiners consisted of Vice-Chancellor, Registrar, Controller of Examinations, Director of Research, Dr Kalpana Sarathy of TISS Guwahati and Guide Dr Riju Sharma.
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