Interview mit Father Balashowry
When did you take over the leadership of Navajeevan and
what were your initial feelings?
I took over the leadership of Navajeevan from Father Thomas Koshy on 25th of May 2013.
I had mixed feeling because I took over the place of a man with great visions, a
legend in the field of child rights. Indeed, it was a privilege to take over the great
responsibility of carrying forward the mission initiated and entrusted.
Therefore, I was happy to continue the work at Navajeevan. However, I was also nervous
to replace and walk in the foot steps of Father Koshy and his staff. But I was confident
to continue with the support and guidance of Father Koshy who always remained as a mentor
and friend so that I could continue to build a child friendly society. I was happy and it
was a great relief that Father Koshy continued to be around in Vijayawada.
How would you describe yourself?
I am Father Balashowry, 46 years old. I come from Mattampalli, Nalgonda district,
Andhra Pradesh, India, which is 100 kilometres away from Vijayawada. I belong to the
society called Salesian of Don Bosco. I have been working with children and young
people at risk for 15 years. I have been involved in ensuring rights of the
children during these years. Father Koshy has been my model and inspiration during
these years especially when children are in need of care and protection.
What are your major priorities for Navajeevan?
My aim is to strengthen the participatory management systems. We want to
continue to work in Navajeevan as a model of ensuring justice to children in need.
My vision is to make a shift from a welfare based approach to a rights based
approach and bridge the gap between the right holders (children in crisis) and
duty bearers (government at levels). This could be done by making knowledge based communities.
The children village „Chiguru“ now exists 15 years. Why is it so important in
the context of Navajeevan?
Chiguru-Children’s Village is very important in the intervention cycle of Navajeevan.
It is a place where children from difficult situations are rescued. It is essential
to restore lost childhoods and make them stable so that these children can continue
their education and grow as fullest human beings. It is the right of every child to
fully enjoy and realize their rights and dreams. The concept of Chiguru with group care
(an alternate form of family care) is essential. It is the place where the children get
individual attention, care and affection together with age appropriate education.
Consequently, they are better prepared to continue their education and develop hidden talents.