“Dream, believe, achieve” were the words chanted by the young people gathered to celebrate International Youth Day on the 12th of August. They had come from the Jittu Squatter Settlement in of Raiwaqa, the Wailea Squatter Settlement in Vatuwaqa and Nanuku, and the Bosco youth group of Nakasi.
Fr. Tuia Afoa (SDB) spoke and gave his words of encouragement to motivate young people to make relevant and solid decisions for their future.
Master Tevita Naikasowalu (co-ordinator of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creations, an initiative of the Divine Word Missionaries) spoke about the connection between JPIC and the work of Saint John Bosco for the young people. “When I first met them (the young from the squatter settlements), the kind of life they lived, I saw they were desperate for success in life and life-changing moments.”
Coming from a parish run by the Salesians who have focus on young people, I thought to myself: I need to bring these young people across from the surrounding areas in Suva to the parish dedicated to Don Bosco to see and experience the positive impact young people have in their parish and villages.”
Master Tevita rounded up about seventy young people, most of whom come from these settlements and are non-Catholics. Their coming together with the youth of St. John Bosco parish gave them the opportunity to meet with one another, develop friendships and share a day together in prayer, games, and activities. There were also plenty of opportunities to share their dreams and reflections, their concerns and eagerness to change their lives for the better.
Master Tevita (far left) pauses for a photo with particpants
One young person stated that Don Bosco dreamed a lot, “just like us”. This was a common theme; others expressed how much they want to follow their dreams and work hard to bring them to reality. They were open about their need for accompaniment to achieve their goals in life. Their struggles are real, and they want to continue to work hard with the help and love of Jesus.
The day was full of fun, joy and genuine friendship. It was a great way to celebrate the International Youth Day and how we wish that for this beautiful experience to continue. As Don Bosco says; “If one is to do good, he must have a little courage, be ready for sacrifice, deal affably with all, and never slight anybody. By following this method, I have always had significant success, in fact, marvellous success.”
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2022 edition of the Salesian Bulletin, which is available now!