Bangalore: President of the Conference of Religious India (CRI) Father V.M. Thomas has been elected president of a church-based Non Governmental Organization.
The Functional Vocational Training and Research Society (FVTRS), a broad framework for vocational training for the benefit of the unorganized sector in India, was instituted by Misereor, a German funding organization.
It comprises directors of leading NGOs engaged in social engineering such as Caritas, SKIP (Skills for Progress), Indo Global Social Service Society (IGSS) and other professional bodies.
The CRI is the national body of more than 1,000 major superiors of Catholic religious in India. It has more than 140,000 members.
Father Thomas is the founder of institutions– Don Bosco Institute and Don Bosco Institute of Management under Assam Don Bosco University (ADBU) at Kharguli (Guwahati).
Over the years some 9,000 youth were trained and employed by DBI; 1,700 Below Poverty Line youth were trained in driving, weaving, embroidery and animal husbandry; 50,000 youth trained in soft skills and leadership for democratic living and participation; 3,500 government school teachers empowered to give quality education to rural youth as well as 1,000 Government School Principals were trained at Gov’s request.
Chancellor of ADBU Father Thomas, 66, an educationist and social worker for the past 40 years, has been helping thousands of Assam’s violence-hit children pick up the pieces of their life and join the mainstream society.
He is also founder director of Child Friendly Guwahati a civil society movement to re-habilitate street children.
Education and skill development has been the guiding principle of this Harvard graduate, Fr Thomas who teaches IAS / IPS cadres at the elite Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy in Mussoorie.
Speaking to Matters India soon after his election Fr Thomas said, “my dream is to empower many more deprived, unemployed, unreached, marginalized and vulnerable youth.”
Guwahati Salesian Provincial Fr V.M. Thomas who was unanimously elected president at FVTRS General Body meeting held in Bangalore, 17 March said, “This is an additional responsibility with major challenges to [help] grow the organisation and ensure bigger outreach and impact.”
Archbishop William D’Souza of Patna proposed Father Thomas for the post and FVTRS treasurer Father Peter Brank seconded the nomination.
Since 1993, FVTRS has teamed up with similar professional bodies in training some 120,000 disadvantaged youth; educated another 10,000 youth through the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).
FVTRS now has several new initiatives like SKILL NET with some 50,000 members working in 20 states of India with the sole aim of making disadvantaged youth employable.
In less than 25 years of its founding FVTRS has successfully implemented 963 projects across 20 states of India with the collaboration of about 150 partners.
Fr Thomas underlined the fact that “a major skill development agency [FVTRS] has focused on drop out and marginalized youth in most unreached areas of Kashmir, Jharkhand, and Odisha’s most undeveloped district of Kalahandi.”
More than 50 percent FVTRS beneficiaries are women.
By CM Paul for Matters India (Except for the title the story has not been edited).