Don Bosco Navajeevan Bala Bhavan - Visakhapatnam

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Origin and Growth

Navajeevan Bala Bhavan Visakhapatnam has its origin in the initiative of the Salesian Province of St.  Joseph Hyderabad to reach out to the Young at Risk in every District of Andhra Pradesh through BIRDY (Bosco Institute of Research and Development for Youth) under the leadership of Fr. Joe Arimpoor, its Director. 
 

The Project which existed with a few children gathered from the streets and looked after by lay staff in a small rented building  in Gnanapuram was later on shifted to a the present Building constructed on the site acquired by the Salesians on 33-1-35, South Jail Road, Visakhapatnam – 530 004.
 

The first Salesian to look after the Project on a regular basis was Fr. Noel Maddhichetty from St. John’s Regional Seminary, Kondadaba. He was succeeded by Fr. Thathireddy Vijayabhaskar.  Fr. Thathireddy under the direction of Fr. Noel Maddhichetty, the Provincial purchased a 20 acre plot in Devipuram of Sabbavaram Mandal for the rehabilitation and training of the children rescued from the street.
 

The first Salesian to stay in Visakhapatnam City  to look after the Project on a full time basis was Fr. William Kiran Hunt. Fr. Parokaran Jose assisted him in this responsibility. Fr. Kiran surveyed the Fishing harbor area in Visakhapatnam and found that many children were dropouts  from school and started the Bridge School in Jalaripeta for their training and mainstreaming. He with the help of Visakhapatnam Diocesan Social Service Society started a Skill Training Centre in Computer and Tailoring to assist under-educated and unemployed youth. He also got the Project registered as ‘The Vizag Navajeevan Bala Bhavan Society under Society’s Registration Act with Reg. No. 1095 of 2005.
 

In 2006 Fr. Thomas Thottiyil became the Director of the Project and started Bosco Illu at Devipuram with 35 tribal school dropouts and housed them in the building constructed with the help of Steel Authority of India Ltd. With the Assistance of Fr. Maddhichetty Noel and Fr. Thomas Koshy he purchased the Building 32-17/1 at Sivalayam Street on Bowdara Road, Visakhapatnam as residence for the children and the Salesiasns. Fr. Guntaka Marianna assisted him for one year as an able collaborator.
 

In 2007 Fr. Sojan Puthussery became the Director of Navajeevan. He constructed the New Shelter at South Jail Road, The children’s Hostel and the Skill Training Centre at Devipuram. He was also able to run successfully a Bridge School for rescued child labourers.
 

2010 saw Fr. Thomas Thottiyil returning as the Director once again. He shifted Skill Training Centre from Jalaripeta to St. Ann’s Co-Cathedral with more trainees and more equipments. In 2011 Fr. Thomas P.C. and Brother Marsakatla Arulappa looked after the accommodation and education of the children at Bosco Illu Sabbavaram. F. Neelam Ratnakumar joined Navajeevan as Assistant Director in July 2013. With his youthfulness and dynamism he is able to give a new impetus to the training and rehabilitation of the young at Risk.
 

At present Navajeevan is engaged in activities like Street Counselling, Rescue, Home-placement, formal and non-formal education, Job-placement, etc. It has now 130 children in the two Shelters, 50 children in the Bridge School, 90 youngsters in the Skill Training Centre. Navajeevan also supporting with scholarship for children in their education, home-placing and job-placing children and youngsters after training and counselling apart from networking with other organizations engaged in the welfare of children in distress. It is also part of the National Salesian YaR (Young at Risk) Network which is catering to over 275’000 youngsters allover India.
 

In another milestone Navajeevan Bala Bhavan obtained from the Govt. of Andhra Pradesh License issued under Women’s and Children’s Institutions (Licensing ) Rules 2010 and Act 1956 with License No. 0384/1574/2013 dated 17/08/2013.
 

The aim of Navajeevan is to ensure a safe and secure childhood for every child and to disappear from the scene when there is no more young at risk.