Don Bosco Philippines South Province

Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippine South Province FIS

FIS Team for HIV Prevention-II

South Africa, Cape Town. August 31, 2017
Second Stop:
Fr. Eddie O’Neill, SDB briefing the FIS Team about Salesian works in Cape Town

The Philippine-FIS team flew from Johannesburg to Cape Town. This time their objective was to observe and learn from a Salesian NGO. They were warmly welcomed by Fr. Eddie O’Neill, SDB and Fr. Bongi, SDB. They were hosted by the Salesian Community of Somerset. Everyday, they travelled to Lansdowne were the Salesian Life Choices holds office. Headed by Ms. Sofia Nieves, the NGO runs five major programs: Family Affairs, Leaders’ Quest, Health for Life, New Ventures Studio and Life Choices Academy.

Ms. Sofia and her staff had prepared a very extensive visit-format for the FIS team that combined discussions with program coordinators and exposure-immersions in schools and communities. This allowed a truly contextualized understanding of the different programs of Life Choices. Team Life Choices spared no effort in sharing their experiences. These included the conceptualization, development and application of the programs, relationships with communities and youth and the operational challenges their NGO met along the way.
Overwhelmed by the experience of hospitality, the Salesian spirit, the dedication of professional lay people, the FIS members tried not to be always on the receiving end. They openly shared their own experiences in the different Salesian works in the Philippines.
Ms. Sofie Nieves, CEO of Life Choices and Ms. Leoni Vaughn, Health for Life Manager, explain the different programs of Life Choices

It is amazing how both teams share common realizations: the work for youth is a vast and challenging one; creativity and dedication are key components; there is need for critical analysis so programs can be culturally and socially contextualized; the Salesian ministry, which is both religious and lay, continues to do amazing intervention wherever they are; it is essential to tap, form, and perhaps more importantly, trust and learn from the lay; Don Bosco’s life and works still inspire and guide people when known and explained properly.