Holy Cross College and High School, Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Rural Schools and Cooperative Programs
Since 1845, Holy Cross education has promoted human development for people of the various faith traditions and ethnic backgrounds that make up Bangladeshi society. Children and adults from Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, Christian and indigenous tribal traditions have been served by Holy Cross educators and institutions with a dedication to fostering dignity and respect for people of all cultures in the country.
Holy Cross College in Dhaka, founded in 1951, was the first Christian women’s college in the country, and presently enrolls approximately 1,000 students. Many of its graduates – Muslim, Hindu and Christian – go into service-oriented fields: government, law, social services and other humanitarian endeavors.
Holy Cross High School, also begun in 1951, has grown into a comprehensive regional resource that serves over 1,500 students. In the same building, sisters offer an afternoon literacy program for more than 400 street children of the urban capital of Dhaka. Over the years, both institutions have become models for government education programs and private schools throughout the nation. The high school was named “best school in the nation” by the Ministry of Education of this predominantly Muslim country.
Since 1845 Holy Cross sisters have opened and operated village schools and cooperative programs that have served as models for developing rural communities. Today these programs thrive in five large rural settings, offering to their diverse communities opportunities for education, religious formation, vocational training and health care. Academic, ethical and spiritual learning are the cornerstones of every project. The larger school community – students, parents, teachers, administrators and local and national organizations – work together to develop personal and social transformation in the hope of creating greater understanding among religions and promoting principles of justice and peace throughout this part of Asia.
Today, Holy Cross educators in Bangladesh collaborate with social justice education projects of the Catholic Church and other groups. They tell their students they consider them “seekers of truth and joyful lovers of work, the world, and God” because "the future of the world" is in their hands [Holy Cross College Handbook].
~Condensed from reports by Sisters Shikha Laetitia Gomes, CSC; Minoti Rozario, CSC; Pauline Gomes, CSC; and Marianne Farina, CSC