“Unemployment is one of the most serious issues for youth because they feel they have no dignity” - Pope Francis
Jewish tradition holds that the number 36 has a special significance and today as Karnataka Regional thOrganization for Social Service (KROSS) enters its 36year of establishment; we are called to be significant in our mandate towards Social Concerns and Development.

In my message last year, I had said: “The youth of a nation are the trustees of posterity” and we need now more than ever before to concentrate on the empowerment of our youth to bring out the best in them for their own development and that of the country by motivating them to accept Gospel Values and Human Virtues. Driven by domestic demands as well as global competitiveness, India is drawing global attention and investment as we have the advantage of having a younger population.

Under such circumstances, importance of skill development of this large working population is not a choice but an imperative both for the nation and the individual. Youth should be provided with relevant skills and made aware of livelihood opportunities presented by the economic growth around them. India has a big number of youth blessed with one or the other skill and the need is to focus on this skill and explore it for making the person to be self-sufficient. We have to appeal to the youth to come forward and take responsibility towards building up of the society and the country. Youth with no skills and no jobs leads to social unrest which is not good for the individual or to the society. Clearly, the importance of skill development is fundamental for both economic and social stability. This raises the question of how we can make skill development effective as a key strategy for youth development.

Pope Francis says: “We have condemned our young people to have no place in society, because we have slowly pushed them to the margins forcing them to migrate or to beg for jobs that no longer exist or fail to promise them a future. Decent jobs for youth are essential for the future we want, to realize change and sustainable development”.With 13 million youth entering the workforce every year, India faces the world's biggest human resource challenge to skill 400 million people by 2022. We cannot always build the future for our youth but we can build our youth for the future. Hence it is imperative that we commit ourselves to take up this challenge and empower our youth with skills to make the under privileged youth employable along with the work of animating women, creating awareness on the ill-effects of malnutrition and building livelihood options for the poor.

I sincerely thank the General Body and Governing Board Members for their support and suggestions in implementing our programs. The backing of our National & International Donors, State & Central Government goes a long way in fulfilling our vision. The change that we see today in the field is the achievement of the fourteen Diocesan Social Work Directors and their Staff and we acknowledge their persistence and fortitude. The commitment of the Director, KROSS and Team needs a special word of admiration as they are the ones who make things happen.

I take this opportunity to thank one and all with the assurance of my prayers. Let us thank the Lord for giving us this chance to work for Him in His vineyard.

Rt. Rev. Dr. Gerald Lobo
President – KROSS & Bishop of Udupi Back