Holotropic Breathwork Workshop Held

holotropic. braethworkjpg

By Shruti Chhetri

Kurseong — A group of 22 faculty members from both the campuses of Salesian College Sonada and Siliguri attended a workshop on “Healing through Holotropic Breathwork” on 23 January.

The one day programme, which was held in Auxilium Convent Kurseong, introduced the participants to the “holotropic breathwork” practice that strives to promote healing through the act of deepened breathing.
“Breathing has healing properties, as does music. We combine these two powerful elements in this practice,” explained Salesian Fr K.C. Thomas from Trivandrum, one of the resource persons.
Fr Thomas was accompanied by his co-facilitator and resource person Sr Regi K. from Bhopal.
The participants were divided into pairs and one (breather) from each pair was asked to lie down with eyes shut while the other (sitter) was asked to look over their respective partners for a period of two hours. During this period, a variety of music was played while the “breathers”took rapid and deep breaths.
“For me what I experienced was something unusual and new. And after the session i felt like something was taken away from me which was not needed so ultimately i felt light and relaxed,” said Miss Pinky Gupta, a participant.
The programme ended with a closing round where the faculty members shared their individual experiences with each other.

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Balasun Youth Centre Turns Golden

IMG_5329Silas Lepcha

Upper balasun — Upper Balasun, one of the 20 Sunday centres conducted by Salesian College students held its Golden jubilee recently. The parish priest of St. Theresa sonada Fr. Sunil Lakra presided over the event.

Sir Suboth Rai, the Assistant Manager of ‘Balasun Tea Estate’ and the headmaster of local primary school Sir Ashok Gurung made the event successful by their presence.

“In the late eighties when the Gorkhaland agitation took great height, all the Youth centres were closed due to the unrest’’ recounts Sir Ashok Gurung.

Mr Gurung quickly adds “ in those difficult moments we took initiative at our own risk and conducted a meeting to revive once again our Balasun Youth centre.”

The youth centre president of Balasun, Esha Gurung says that, “ Young people at present are busy with mobile phones, coming to the youth centres have become a boring business for them, we can see in our own centre that only the children are present for Sunday youth centre activities.

Balasun is one of the leading tea estate for the production of tea leaves in the hills of Darjeeling. It is ninety minutes walk from Gorabari.The local residents are mostly tea garden labourers.

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Youth work, study on Sunday for extra pay

By Bartholomius Dhan


Thapa Dhura — A group of village students of the Thapa Dhura Youth Centre do odd jobs on Sundays to earn income to support their studies. Some young people even learn skills to be better employable.

One of the students Bruno Thapa says, “I go for work on Sundays because on this day I get more income to support my studies. My parents’ wages are very less to give my school fees. I do the jobs of construction, cleaning, firewood, carrying and breaking stones in the local areas. I feel that these kinds of works are very helpful for my education.”

girlsAnother student Miss. Shreya Thapa says, “I break the stone so that I can get more money for my extra expenses. I contribute some money for my dance class too.”

Thapa Dhura Y. C. was closed down many years ago but recently in 2015 it has been reopened for the second time by Bro. Jeremiah the captain and his companions. This place is located on the way to Lower Cedar, some two hours walk from the Salesian College Sonada.

Thapa Dhura Y. C. belongs to Sonada Zone with 25 youth members. The present SCS team includes three Brothers: Jacob Minj, Mukesh Barwa, and Bartholomius Dhan.

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Villager revives dying Youth Centre

By Premento Narzary, Anup Ranjan, and Rahul Tirkey

Middle Kharay Busty —  A villager’s keen interest for the development of children of his village made him appeal to Salesian College authorities to re-open Youth Centre which was closed for six years.

Mr.Nobin Chettri, 37 years of age, is a contractor by profession.

Mr.Chettri says, “The children and youth are poor in social activities. They take interest only in occupying themselves with casual labour to earn money for themselves.”

He insists, “The other aim is also in the activities of sports and music to better qualify and engage them in social works.”

He appealed to the College authorities along with a delegation of five persons from the village.

They met Fr. Rosan Kullu, sdb, Youth Coordinator who says, “I am always ready to help you reopen the centre for it is a Centre close to him in his formation and experience.”
Fr. Kullu insisted that, “Spending of time in a proper manner must be observed by the Brothers, youths and children.”

Mr.Chettri tells about the background of the village which composed of youth and children as students, elders and parents. There are seven Catholic families, some Protestants and the rest are Hindus. Others are serving as officers, Government servants and businessmen.

Mr.Ratan Kumar Rai, a senior member of Youth Centre tells, “The centre was first opened in 1986 and it was closed in 2010.”

“The closing of the Centre was due to some misunderstandings between the youngsters and Brothers.”

Mr.Nobin Chettri adds further reasons for the closure of the Youth Centre saying, “Lack of leadership and mismanagement of Funds.”

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Life of a tea garden worker

Alexius Minj

Upper Cedars — Mr. Durba Tamang gets up early in the morning and goes to work in the garden a km. away. During the tea plucking season which starts in May and June Mr. Durba gets 132 rupees as daily wages. During rainy season in July and August he gets wet and plucks the tea leaves.

In the dry season, December and January he goes to prune and weeds the garden. In spite of cold season during winter he gets up early in the morning at 7:30 and sometimes he sacrifices his breakfast. In winter, tea garden work starts at 2:00 o’clock afternoon. He carries food for lunch what his mother cooks in the morning.

He gets 2 kg of rice and 4 kg Atta per week as ration. There is no good medical facility and no Hospital in Upper Cedars.

Vehicles are only for those who work in the tea garden and for one who is seriously sick. There were teachers in the school at Upper Cedars but now they left teaching in the school as they were not getting sufficient salary.

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Students revive youth centre through competitions

GairigaonBy Sudip Mondal

Gairigaon — A group of college students plans to revive the youth centre membership and participation through competitions.

Gairigoan youth centre’s captain Bro. Sujit Kerketta states, “The youth centre has to be renewed through popular competions like Carrom competition and Football tournament to attract the participation of youth.”

He insisted saying,”We should have more support from the local people for procuring more games articles and musical instruments.”

One of the past pupils of the youth centre Mr. Pritam Khawas says, “We have benefited a lot from the youth centre . We have developed our communication skills, improved on discipline, and learned games and singing.”

Mr. Khawas adds, “I was a regular member of Garigoan youth centre. We always used to wait eagerly for Sunday as we could participate in many competitions organised in the youth centre and win prizes.”

Gairigoan and Arubotia youth centres were established by Fr. James Chacko around 1988. However, in 2000, the youth centre of Gairigoian was separated from Arubotia and was initiated by Bro. Jotish and Bro. Joseph.

The Gairigaon youth centre, one of 20 youth centres run by Salesian College students is just 90 minutes walk from the college on the way to Balasun.

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Surviving 104-day strike

RungmookBy Benai Chettri
Rungmook — Selena Gurung is a middle aged woman and a tea garden worker from the Rungmook tea estate who earns her livelihood as daily wage earner. She survived 104 days strike caused by Gorkhaland agitation without starvation.

Recalling the hardships of the bandh days, Mrs. Gurung says, “The residents of Rungmook had sufficient provisions to manage their daily needs.”

She did not hesitate to add, “fortunately no children had to die on account of malnutrition as in some other places of the hills.”

However, Mrs. Gurung along with other citizens had some hard days to cope with when they did not get the relief material in time.

She says, “God- sent people and Salesian College Fathers and some members of NGOs made their life easier.”

Mrs. Gurung expressed her misfortune several times when she did not get the little bit of ration after having walked for two hours from Rungmook to Sonada. Then, looking into the situations, her family and others too decided to go towards Siliguri during night hours just to get the basic needs.

She also recalls happily, “gone are those days with full of challenges which me and my family survived along with other villagers of Rungmook tea estate.

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