After a lengthy break, Cagliero Project is sending volunteers to where they're needed most once more!

The Cagliero Project is an initiative of the Australia-Pacific Province that provides overseas volunteer experiences for people who wish to work with disadvantaged young people.

The Cagliero Project incorporates the values of Salesian Voluntary Service: a preferential love for the poor, a focus on education and a lived family spirit. Cagliero volunteers commit to working in Salesian communities in the way of Don Bosco with a spirit of joyful, loving and selfless service.

Since its inception in 2008, over 70 volunteers have been sent for long term experiences to communities around the world, with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region. It is inspiring to journey with these volunteers who give so selflessly and in turn are enriched by the experience.

The Cagliero Project, in partnership with our overseas placements, aims to support volunteers holistically – physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Salesian volunteering is defined very specifically as a solidarity service, made gratuitously and freely by a young person (and young at heart!), sent and welcomed by a community.

They integrate themselves into the educative and pastoral projects of a Salesian presence for an extended period of time, motivated by the faith, with the missionary style according to the pedagogy and spirituality of Don Bosco.

Closed borders during the pandemic meant that volunteers were unable to be sent which impacted those wanting to volunteer and the communities where volunteers have played important roles for many years. The tight relationships we had built with these communities were put on pause and they were left to make do with what they had.

We are so grateful to be getting back on track and sending our volunteers to do what they do best – work with young people! It has become overwhelmingly clear that it is an exciting time for volunteering in our Province and the Salesian Congregation at large.

The Australia-Pacific Province is not alone in having a strong volunteer program. So many provinces are doing such great work in receiving and sending volunteers. It is a beautiful expression of genuine shared mission between SDBs and the laity.

New Cagliero volunteers Sebastian Vorster, Elise Larsen and Javier Amaya spent the day at Ascot Vale on Friday, 1 July, in preparation for their 6-month Cagliero experience in Samoa, Timor Leste and Cambodia.

Fr Peter Carroll began their day with a brief reflection and Fr Brian Ahern and Teaghan Dolan introduced the life of Don Bosco and his spirituality. In the afternoon, Lauren Hichaaba delved into cross cultural preparation. Sebastian also stayed with the community prior to his departure.

Our 2022 Volunteers!

Aileen has a wealth of diverse experience, covering engineering, agriculture and English language. Aileen is contributing her time, skills and talents in Poipet Cambodia, where her doctorate in energy efficiency will go a long way to boosting the sustainability and cleanliness of the school.

Javier began his Salesian journey at the Don Bosco Camp in Safety Beach, Victoria. That same journey has also taken him to Poipet, Cambodia, where he will work with the boarding students and within classrooms. Like so many volunteers before him, Javier brings a joyful affinity for young people and a passion for their betterment, using the skills that he learned as a camper and leader to empower young people to reach their goals.

Elise has spent the duration of her life as an English and a Second Language teacher, making her a natural fit for the Cagliero Project as, in many of the communities we work, the ability to understand English is highly prized. She is working with our students and young people in Dili, Timor Leste, equipping young people with the tools they need to access a better future. We are so grateful and inspired by our ‘young at heart’ volunteers who are not afraid of the challenge of volunteering.

Sebastian has long dreamed of doing mission work in an overseas context. After months of waiting, he is able to fulfil this dream at Don Bosco Technical Centre in Alafua, Samoa. Sebastian will be teaching in the school, as well as making use of his extensive experience in youth to help out in the parishes. He began his experience with two weeks in our Salesian community in Fiji, giving him a deeper immersion into Pacific culture.

We are already preparing more volunteers for 2023 and have just sent volunteers out into the field. Please visit our website if you want to take up the challenge of volunteering!

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2022 edition of the Salesian Bulletin, which is available now!