Since Our Lady of Holy Cross School (OLHCS) opened the doors of its new building in Barakathal, India, in 2017, the sisters and staff have been hard at work, planning and developing the school to deliver a top-notch education in the Holy Cross tradition.
Sister Khochem Mossang, CSC, headmistress of the school, credits the loving generosity of many for helping the school begin so successfully. “Our Lady of Holy Cross School is deeply grateful for the kindness and generosity shown to our school in these first two years. This is a wonderful example of what the hands of many can accomplish together when united for the good of those who need us,” she said. During the school’s first year, students sat at new school desks and benches during class because of the Congregation’s donor-supported Ministry With the Poor Fund. The fund also provided a water filtration system to ensure clean water, and library books to advance literacy. A once-empty computer lab now has 25 computers, thanks to a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Fund for Sisters. Students benefit by learning through computer technology and by gaining the computer skills and competencies that are essential in today’s digital world.
Another important planning goal was establishing a formal program to provide the students with meals during the school day. In this remote area of North East India, most families earn less than $1,000 annually as farmers. As a result, families struggle to meet their daily needs, including the most basic—food. The school was blessed to get an early start on this feeding program thanks to the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Dubuque, Iowa) Hunger Fund, which provided the school with start-up funds.
Providing recreation and physical activity for students was also on the sisters’ minds. The students clamored for equipment to play sports such as soccer, volleyball and badminton. They were overjoyed when they saw what Sister Bijoycy Thongnibah, CSC, had in her suitcase after a trip to Saint Mary’s in Notre Dame, Indiana: nets, balls, rackets, chess sets and other equipment. The sports gear was purchased by a South Bend, Indiana, couple who learned of the school’s need while volunteering at Saint Mary’s.
Sister Bijoycy expressed her deep gratitude this way: “The children of OLHCS are so happy, and the sisters ministering here are inspired by the spirit of generosity of so many who journey with us in our educational mission to make lives better for the people of rural India.”