LETTER FROM BEHALA
Greetings from the Oxford Mission Family, Behala!
The inauguration of the Centre on December 8 2006 is very vivid in our minds. It was a great occasion and joyfully inaugurated by The Right Reverend Samuel Raju, Chairman, OTMA, Simon Wilson Esq., British Deputy High Commissioner in Kolkata and Simon Ling Esq., Chairman, OM UK Committee. Ever since, the music hall is being used by our boys every day, their music practice is done comfortably and even some programmes are held. The acoustics are lovely and, of course, the picturesque surroundings with lovely green huge trees give our MMMC a glorious look. Thanks to everyone once again for the support extended to us morally and financially to get this built.
Our new 31 smallies aged between 5 and 6 years are doing well. They are lovely children, fast in adapting in both studies and sports, recitations, songs, etc. They do well in their classes and learn quite a few spiritual hymns. They are cared for by three Mashis (nurses), who also teach them manners, courtesy and hygiene awareness. Above all, these three mashis love the boys very much.
The boys here, upgraded from St Nicholas Home, are aged between 8 and 10 years. They are cared for by the Assistant Warden no more extra pampering from the Mashis! and are given social work and Sunday School studies. Just the other day, a young boy from Class III of St Josephs Primary School competed in an Art and Idea contest and came first out of many children. Great! As I said before and keep on telling you, the boys of Oxford Mission are Golden Boys. Once again, thanks to you all, the Chairman and OMTA members and to all who are serving the Oxford Mission at Behala for their unstinting support for the betterment of the boys and for the progress of the Mission work.
We have 86 boys in lower classes (primary) in our own St Josephs Primary School, Oxford Mission, and we have 39 boys going to a local high school. 3 boys appeared For Class X Board Examinations. All are doing well and are well behaved. Wherever they go to participate in sporting activities, drama or cultural activities, they come out with flying colours. They are well known in all the other schools and institutions in the locality.
Recently there was musical interaction at MMMC with the Assembly of God Church School. Our children, together with A. G. School children learnt a lot from each other and impressed the seniors who attended. It is a pleasure to see our boys doing so well. Sanjib, along with a few other musicians, is in Japan for a concert and will be back soon. Scouting activities are also being enhanced. In September 2007, our scouter attended the Scouts Conference at Burdwan to decide on improvements of Scouting activities. This month, 20 of our Scouts and 1 scouter attended the 1 day District Scout outing. Recently, the District police played football on our field, and in the inaugural day, the District police Superintendent asked us to allow a few of our scouts to be posted to control the ground. They did a good job and the Police Chief of this district was very happy to see such smart Scouts from the Oxford mission.
The monsoon is just over and the fields are being mowed and rolled for cricket. It looks very nice to see field workers at work. Right now, the ground is closed for any games by outsiders, as we keep the grounds closed for 7 days in a year (from 01 to 07 October). I had to face a lot of resistance when making this rule, but I have succeeded in implementing it for the last four years.
Few repairs and renovation work are being carried out. From next month, The Douglass Hostel building, which is very seriously damaged, will be repaired, renovated and painted. Sishu Bhavan, ENT clinic, Sick Bay, Eye Clinic and Nurses quarters, currently housed in the building, will move to other places and return once the repairs are completed.
ISOM quarters, Pinn School quarter, Mission House, will also be repaired shortly. The Civil Engineer and architect have visited and evaluated the scope of the work, and quotations are awaited.
I have appealed to the UK committee for some funds to have our Chapel fully repaired. The tin roof has to be changed totally and damp walls and floors require complete re-plastering with a good waterproof compound. The Chapel has not been repaired or renovated for a long period (if any of our supporters would like to contribute to this cost, please send a cheque with a covering letter to the General Secretary stating that this amount is to be earmarked for the Chapel repairs, thank you). See our new projects page on the website (click here)
The Trustees at the last Board Meeting of Oxford Mission Trust Association held on 19 September 2007 decided to renew my contract for a further period. One of the Accounts department staff has resigned from service, with no replacement. The OM Hostel Warden retired last December and the Estate Officer in April. We thank them for their services rendered to the Oxford Mission. We are in the process of recruiting a capable Warden, and in the meantime, I am carrying out the Wardens job with the help of the assistant warden.
In recent times we have had visitors who come to the mission to see our work and they are delighted to see our children and the various facilities that allow our children to mature. The visitors all comment highly of their discipline, smartness, ability and good behaviour. It is a great achievement.
We are looking forward to the visit of Bishop Bill Down and the Revd. Alwyn Jones. It will be wonderful to have them across.
Before concluding, I wish to thank the President, Chairman, General Secretary, Editor and members of the OM UK Committee for their unstinting support and profound love for the boys and Mission work at Behala. On behalf of the boys and workers of Behala Oxford Mission campus, I convey their thanks, regards and love to you all. Also, thanks to the donors, supporters and well-wishers whose enormous contribution builds so many lovely lives in the Kingdom of Christ. We pray for the speedy recovery of Mrs Mary Marsh who had an accident recently.
I thank our Chairman, OMTS, Bishop Samuel Raju, for his invaluable guidance and advice to make the Mission more fruitful for both the boys and the health of the Mission. His plans are always pragmatic and proper in getting more privileges for the down-trodden. I also thank all the Trustee Board members and Consultative Committee members for their constant help and guidance.
I thank all the staff of the Oxford Mission for their hard and honest work to keep the Mission in ship-shape form. I thank those who have retired and resigned from the work of Oxford Mission for their contribution and help.
Last but not least, I thank all the boys for being so good and well-disciplined, by which they set good examples to others. I thank all those in the area of Behala/Barisha and elsewhere who are always helping us the Counsellors, Police and Government officials, Clubs and the Vicar and members of St Peters Church, whose active support is a great strength to us.
Please pray for us and the work of the Mission. We all look towards your benevolence for the charitable work of Oxford Mission and for the upliftment of our boys.