The New Year 2019 Beckons us to Equality

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Oota

OOTA-WELLSPRINGS: DON BOSCO PSYCHO-SOCIAL SERVICES

Oota-Wellsprings has just completed 25 years since the time it was initiated by the First
Provincial Chapter in 1993 and established as the Justice and Peace Centre of the province
at Kurnool. Ten years ago, on 10 th December 2008, Oota widened its scope by integrating
psychological approach into the process of social transformation when it was re-launched as
the Don Bosco Psycho-Social Services. Oota moved from Kurnool to Hyderabad (BIRDY) to
Guntur and back (BIRDY and Ramanthapur) and from May 2017 has been functioning from
PARA, Ravulapalem.

Being on the move has helped Oota to draw inspiration from or be challenged by various
circumstances. Earlier its focus was on socio-economic and politico-legal aspects of social
transformation. Oota involved with other like-minded NGOs in seeking justice for the
marginalised, especially the dalits. It also joined a NGO-collective that was formed to initiate
a people’s movement. Advocacy was done on various issues such as minimum wages,
prevention of atrocities against SCs, STs or women, land rights and so on. The work for
Justice for the dis-advantaged took on a rights-based approach. People’s participation was
highlighted in the advocacy and training programmes on local governance.

As Oota transformed itself into psycho-social services, accompaniment of individuals and
groups took precedence over action programmes. Advocacy work now included the Care
and Protection of Children and Child Rights. There was more collaboration with the YaR
groups and training programmes for the care administrators were initiated. Specific
situations and needs of the Young at Risk were studied and programmes designed
according to the Preventive System of Don Bosco. Participatory Action Research was
initiated at the national level during this phase. Oota collaborates with YaR, Salesian
Psychological Association (SPA), Salesian Social Forum (SSF) and others.

Participatory approach got the attention of the formation process in the congregation and the Church. With the new document from the Vatican Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life, “New Wine in New Wineskins,” the formation thrust has gained more traction. Oota is now collaborating with SPA to prepare an orientation paper on formation in the spirit of this document. Participation of the formee in the formation process and giving up the hierarchical mind set along with privileges by the formator will be the high-lights of this paper. Invitation is open to all to participate in this process.

Originally established as the Justice and Peace Centre of the province, Oota has now been
shifted to PARA, the Justice and Peace Centre of the province. This is very providential. The
two centres gel together in their vision and scope. PARA provides the locus for a meaningful
functioning of Oota and Oota provides the process support for the effective operation of
PARA. Together PARA and Oota serve the province in the area of Justice and Peace as well
as in psycho-social services. Oota has come to its own and need not shift any more.

(www.paraindia.org)