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Youths get used to big city life

Samuel Program eases transition of youths to city life

Youths get used to big city life
Participants and organizers in
Manik Joseph Costa, Dhaka

October 20, 2011

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A group of Catholic priests and nuns are helping young, rural people to overcome the many challenges they face when they move to the capital, Dhaka. Started in 2007, the Samuel Program helps 80 participants each year, most of them residents at the city’s Christian hostels. The fourth intake completed its 2011 session last weekend at Mary Queen of Apostles Church in Mirpur, to the north of the city. The program includes morality and Bible classes, as well as “life sharing” from trainers on a range of subjects. “We’re trying to help the young people by  supporting them in their day to day struggles and making their life beautiful, based on real values,” said program organizer Sister Mamata of the Catechist Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The participants have found the program has helped them get over all sorts of the obstacles that young people typically come up against. “We have been taught to do away with extra-marital sex that goes against Catholic values. I’ve been tempted to indulge in such sins by some hostel mates but I saved myself,” said Sushanto Mondol, 18. He added that though it is difficult to restrain oneself from modern-day temptations, it is possible with strong faith in Christ. Another participant Rupok Rozario, 18 said he learned how to pray, which helped him keep away from evil intentions. “I didn’t know how to pray well before," he said. "Nowadays I pray regularly. Recently when my father had heart surgery I prayed for his speedy recovery and he made it.” Rock Rozario said the program helped him fight against poverty because his parents struggle to help with his monthly expenses. “It also helps me avoid stealing, which is something that poor hostel students sometimes do,” he added. Young people in Dhaka often come into contact with drugs and Bennett Corraya, 17, said he was threatened when he refused to join some associates in taking them. “Life is not easy and challenges are a daily reality,” he said. “Keeping the faith alive and choosing the right path for life is what the program inspires us to do.” Related reports: Poor students’ guiding light in the big city
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