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Steph in the Philippines

Extracts from Steph’s blog.

In their own words

Recently, we set our students a group project in English, to produce a brochure and TV advert for TVED. Here in their own words (but with a few spelling and grammatical errors corrected) is what some of the students have to say about their school:


“All I can say is it’s the best training I ever experienced. The training centre conducts an orientation to test how determined you are about studying here in Don Bosco. The student must be poor and interested to study because if you are poor there are scholarships to be offered.”

“TVED department has low tuition fees and it is a good school for me because they train you well and give you the opportunity that you are looking forward for.”

“I’m so glad when I was “in” because my first dream came true. Don Bosco teaches mostly about the values and morality and the spiritual things. He encouraged mostly the poor children and the young who are in bad ways.”

“The orientation is a kind of endurance that will measure or test the determination of the applicants if they are willing to be part of the team as Bosconians. Most of the challenges are to test your patience. It is also to measure your creativeness, attitudes and strength, to help us know if you are really capable to be a Bosconian.”

“If you are qualified to become a Bosconian you always remember the saying of the Bosconians, not only to remember it but to do it be a good Christian and honest citizen.”

“TVED is a training centre that teaches skills such as technical and intellectual and being here every day is worth it because you are learning new things every hour of the day”

“Like St John Bosco they teach young people the knowledge that they could use in life and to improve their skills like technical skills and also in sports, in using musical instruments like guitar, flute, beat-box, organ and drums.”

“There are many courses that TVED offers like IE, MT, HST and WFT. TVED has 200 plus students, 8 instructors, 2 teachers from England, 1 training coordinator and 1 training director. For me TVED is the best vocational training center because they have time about God like every morning has a mass except Saturday”

“After we log in we went to the chapel to have a mass. When the mass is ended the next task is chores. It is nice to see when everyone can work independently. After that we have a morning assembly. One student leads the prayers. We sing the Philippine National Anthem and someone will give a morning talk. When the talk is finished that is the time of our class hours. We have also different subjects but more on technical which is related to our courses. Before we end our training we have our hobbies, during this time I see the true meaning of life. It is nice to see when everyone is living together in harmony. We end our activities with afternoon assembly”

“DBTC-TVED just only helps you to learn something new that you never knew before. So be wise to use the time given to you for the hobby so that in the end you will be proud that even though you’re too busy for your study, you also learned some skills. The DBTC-TVED only wants you to learn not only in subjects but also in skills because we need an enjoyment in ourselves to continue to live life.”

“The most exciting day of Intramurals is the championship day. The winner of the game will be the champion and the champion will be proud of their team. The loser will be sad but the most important part of the game is that you do your best and most especially enjoy the game and show good sportsmanship.”

“When retreat day came we were all very excited. We all believed and expected that this retreat will give us the chance to discover our inner self. We entered the retreat house. It is situated in Mantalongon. It is a very suited place for people who wanted to relax and have peace of mind.”

“As a trainee here in TVED you are practising the good deeds of St John Bosco by doing your tasks extraordinarily well. Being a Bosconian is not easy especially doing things that are new for you but if you believe in yourself doing what is right and keep in mind that it is for your own good and you will become a good Christian and honest citizen because it is the only one thing that Don Bosco wants us to be.”

face of death perhaps, but risking ridicule or even just questions, do we opt for the easier path of aggression, be it actions, words or just in thoughts, rather than the self-sacrificing choice of loving service.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

All Hail to St John Bosco!

Today, 31st January, the church celebrates the feast of St John Bosco. We, on the other hand, have already been celebrating this feast for nearly a week. Lessons ended on Wednesday to be followed by three days of events and activities with the students, Sunday was family day, and yesterday the whole staff headed to the beach to swim in the sea, eat (a lot) and play mad games. By comparison to the goings-on of the last few days, today is fairly quiet. Time perhaps, to reflect on this saint who we are celebrating.

There is no doubt about it, Don Bosco certainly gets his name about (partly owing to the Salesians’ lack of originality in naming their projects – of the twenty or so in this province, I think all bar two are called Don Bosco something!). It is a name which, this time last year, I knew of vaguely, and in a short space of time has become incredibly familiar. Along with the name, I have come to know something of the story of this holy and pioneering spirit.

In the midst of the industrial revolution, John Bosco became a priest and dedicated his life to working with those most other clerics of the time wouldn’t touch with a barge pole. He called to him the boys from the streets, brought to the cities in search of employment or wealth but finding instead only poverty, destitution and abandonment. He welcomed those who were unwelcome elsewhere, he offered them a place to call home, a chance of an education and skills. He invited them to play and have fun and be children. He offered them the gospel of a God who loves them just as they are.

Mixed up in his story are tales of magic and miracles, incidents we might doubt through our 21st century eyes, but which were perhaps much more easily accepted by the people of his day. Irrespective of whether they happened as written, or have a more rational explanation, there is no doubt in my mind that the true miracle of Don Bosco’s life was his absolute commitment to the poor and destitute children, migrants to the growing industrialised cities, abandoned by society at large. The miracle of his life was to pray holding nothing back, and so be willing to give up everything to serve these kids whose existence everyone else would rather forget.

And the miracle to which he calls us, is not to perform feats or tricks but to place those who are most excluded by society at the very centre of our thoughts and lives.

The need he saw then, for someone to show these poor, destitute, unloved children that there was someone who cared is just as real today. There are still children displaced by poverty, damaged by abuse or abandonment, scarred by war. There are still children searching for a place to be themselves, to run and to play. There are still children who need to hear someone say “you are loved”

St John Bosco has left a legacy in his name plastered on schools and youth projects around the world: but a greater legacy will be the day when the rest of the world wakes up to the call to care enough so that no child dies of a disease that could easily be cured, no child starves on the streets, no child is dragged into the misery of war, no child is left abandoned and alone, no child descends into a spiral of depression and fear.

If we live in a civilized world, surely that shouldn’t be beyond our reach?

Last modified on Tuesday, 11 February 2014 12:01


Spring 2019

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