LETTER from BARISAL
I am glad of the opportunity to open the inside page of different sections of the Oxford Mission, Barisal. Many new things have been taking place, as follows:
1. St. Agnes' Hostel: The Hostel was closed in December for Christmas. But before that a pre-Christmas function with a cultural show, including Christmas drama and a delicious night-meal, was arranged for the girls after the annual exams. It was a very joyful occasion for them as well as for the staff members. The Hostel compound was nicely decorated with flowers, coloured paper and balloons
The Hostel was opened on 7 January, 2004 for the new session. The total number of girls in the Hostel now regularly attending the Oxford Mission High School is 97. The pass rate of the Hostel girls up to Class X was 95% in the last annual exams, which look place in November and December 2003. The girls did quite well in academic classes, as a result of our evaluating the termly results and taking sufficient steps to ensure good performance. You will be happy to know that 12 girls (regular students) sat for the school Final this year, and we hope for a good result.
2. St. Mary's Home: A pre-Christmas function was observed, with joyful songs, Christmas drama and dances by the children. Mother Susila C.S.S., the Revd. Father Francis, the C.S.S Sisters, the Brothers, the Manager and the Accountant of the Oxford Mission were invited. It was a colourful evening. The children are happy and at home here Sister Jharna is now in charge of the Home after Sister Dorothy. It is nice to be able to say that the children clean the church and arrange the flower vases for the altars throughout the year. A marriage was arranged for one girl from the Home and she is happily adjusting with her new family
3. The College Hostel for Girls: St Clare's College Hostel is looked after by the Revd. Miss Manoroma Mitra. There are 18 young Christian girls living in the Hostel Among them, seven girls who appeared at the final year exam were promoted to the second year and are getting ready for the Intermediate Final exam in June, 2004.
The Management Committee has decided to allow new admissions in the Intermediate class only, and they will stay for two years. The decision has been made to avoid the management problems.
4. St. Anne's Medical Centre: Dr. Samiron Chakrovarty, M.B.B.S. comes in every Friday and attends the patients. The regular activities are going on well in the clinic (hospital), under the supervision of Mrs. Usha Biswas and other nurses. The short nutrition programme for the children in Kashipur Clinic (the extended one) has proved not to be very effective at the moment: therefore the programme for the children under five years old has been stopped. But the Kashipur Clinic is there for the Community Health Programme, which is funded by the Oxford Mission.
5. Oxford Mission Primary School: There are 320 children in the school for this new year, 2004. There are 165 boys and 155 girls Hindus, Christians and Muslims. The year's final results were very satisfactory 94% passed in the exam in December, 2003.
According to the decision of the Committee, a new shift for playgroup and kindergarten class children has been newly started in the school. Two new trained teachers have been appointed, and the total number of teachers is now 13.
6 Oxford Mission High School: The school is run by Mr Karuna Broto Sirkar, the Acting Headmaster. Brother Martin is getting ready to take over the duties of Headmaster after completion of his B.Ed. training exam (final). The total number of students in the New Year is 597 (boys 314, girls 283: Hindus 49, Christian 179 and Muslims 369). The year's final results were good, and in July 2003 the school arranged the Annual Prize giving Day for the students who did well in various ways in the school year. The students are very happy and inspired.
7. The College Hostel for Boys: St Thomas's College Hostel in the Oxford Mission compound is still closed as the local problem is not yet solved.
8. St. Michaels Boys' Hostel: There are 75 boys in the Hostel, which is running well under the expert supervision of Father Francis S.P.B. assisted by two Brothers of the St Pauls Brotherhood.
9. GENERAL INFORMATION
a) The Annual Picnic: All the staff members of the Estate, the Primary School and St Anne's Hospital enjoyed the Annual Picnic in February-March 2004, and were very happy.
b) New Construction: An additional new wall about 500ft long has become absolutely necessary on the South boundary of the Oxford Mission land, to prevent and limit the occupancy of land by the Government. Therefore the Committee has approved the construction by an influential construction team under the supervision of an Engineer. Father Francis S.P.B will be sending a request to the Oxford Mission donors in the U.K for its funding. Father Francis is away in India for meditation and religious training from a Guru. He will come back after three months.
c) The Epiphany Church: You will be happy to know that the repair of the top roof of the church is being completed. We thank our kind supporters who donated money for this purpose. The regular painting and small repairs are being carried out.
d) Staff Retirement: Three old employees on the Fathers' side have retired, and a nice farewell meeting was arranged for them.
e) A Spiritual Alarm: The employees sit for a prayer meeting every day before they start the day's work. They are also inspired to try to attend the Sunday services and other prayer meetings regularly for their spiritual growth.
10. CONCLUSION We thank God for the work going on through the Oxford Mission here, and many poor people are getting help in these hard times. May God bless our donors and the donor agency in the U.K. We pray that God may inspire the coming new generations also at home and abroad to stretch out their helping hands for the poor and helpless in the world. May God bless all our works here.
T. K. BYAPARI, Manager