Inauguration of Bosco Boys home - Ibadan
February 6,,2017 - Nigeria
For us Salesians, we believe that our congregation was borne not out of human invention but through Divine initiative. The play of events in the life of Don Bosco, our founder and in the founding of the Society clearly buttress this claim.
Today, this claim is corroborated when we liken the project of the Bosco Boys Home in Ibadan, Nigeria to the very period of inception of Don Bosco's apostolate. As we know, he began with visits on the streets and then the thought of stability made him to wander from place to place with his boys. Providentially, he settled finally at the Pinardi shed which metamorphosed to the Valdocco Oratory which became the proto-oratory for us Salesians.
Similarly, the noble project here in Ibadan began with visit of brothers to the boys on the streets of Ibadan with much attention to Iwo road. These are boys ranging from as young as nine years of age to between twenty-five and thirty. They came to the street due to one reason or the other and some of these reasons, pathetically, are not commensurate to warrant the hardship they face while living on the street. And so, to make ends meet, they are involved in menial jobs like hawking, bus conductors, truck pushers and the sorts. The perilous part of it is that, while living on the street, they are exposed to the life of thuggery, stealing and drug addiction. Also, they become bereft of the essentials of familyhood which presently, is a great concern for the ecclesial community and more importantly, the Salesian Congregation.
As it were, going beyond the periodic apostolate, a swift initiative came then to rent rooms for these boys; at least to provide shelter for them and continue the encounter. But then, it became apparent that they needed to have that familial touch which is indispensable for every human person. It was at this end that the idea of getting foster-families for some of them came up. This idea yielded immensely as the few families who accepted this gigantic task undauntedly collaborated to their upbringing. It is amongst these boys that great testimonies emanate.
As years progressed, the thought of having a home for these boys within our Salesian environment became more pronounced. This was given a significant consideration in the year of the bicentenary of Don Bosco. It was thought to be a perfect gift for Don Bosco on his bicentenary in the Nigerian Delegation. And indeed, it is!
Fast forward to 2017, precisely on the 28th of January; after many months of prayers, hard work and relying on Divine providence by the Salesians, Salesian family, collaborators, benefactors and benefactresses what we can also call our Valdocco was inaugurated by His Grace, Rt. Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin, the episcopal ordinary of Ibadan archdiocese, in the presence of Salesians, Priests and Religious men and women and lay faithful.
On this commendable feat, the Archbishop was full of praise of the Salesians for going beyond proffering hints to curb social problems to concretely taking the steps themselves and he greatly shared in the plight of the many street boys who graced the inaugural ceremony. The newly opened home has quite a number of facilities of which some are undeveloped yet but on the interim, it can accommodate forty of these youngsters comfortably.
Okafor Charles, SDB
Ibadan Philosophate, Nigeria