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Church shapes future of kids in rebel den

- Parents like silent revolution, poor children find new home to pursue dreams

Amisha, a student of Class III of St Joseph Residential School, Basauni, aspires to become a doctor. Her poor tribal parents have supported Amisha for fulfilling the desires of their 10-year-old daughter and put her in this school, located more than 20km from their native place of Uren.

“My ambition is to become a doctor and I am getting the best guidance in this school, which is not possible at the government school at my native place. I am staying here,” she said during a Parents’ Day function organised by the school on Saturday.

Located some 35km southeast from Lakhisarai district headquarters and just beside the border of Maoist-hit Dharhara block of Munger district, St Joseph Residential School runs under Catholic church, Basauni, established by British woman Ms Mary in 1962. It arranges free education, food and hostel facilities for a sizeable number of poor students.

Sudhir Kumar Jha (52), a resident at Basauni, said how the church had been carrying out a silent revolution for the poor students. In spite of located in the Maoist hub, the church never came under the radar of the outfits because it works for the downtrodden.

“Besides providing education, we also organise charitable works in this region regularly. We have to arrange funds for such works from our internal resources like farming on the church campus and the archbishop, Patna, manages funds for us from time to time,” said Father Shakespeare Poul, the church secretary.

A colourful cultural function was organised on Saturday at the school premises to celebrate Parents’ Day in which students enchanted the audience with their talent and skills. “Can you imagine such cultural events by students of such a remote place?” said Arjun Marandi (58) of Lakarkola. His daughter, Juhi, an alumna of this school, is pursuing nursing training in Patna. Hira Lal Manhji (60) of Koilo said his son, who passed out from this school, is doing graduation in Patna.

Monoj Kumar Jha, a senior teacher, said many former poor students from this school managed to have achieved excellent positions. Manish Kumar, a former student, is now a scientist in Ukraine.

Principal Father Wilfred said the school has 467 students and 13 teachers. “We applied for the Class VIII registration in 2009 and we got it in September, 2013. We follow the Bihar School Examination Board syllabus and are trying to introduce classes IX and X here, especially for the girls,” he said.

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