A group of students and teachers of a Catholic school along with Loreto nuns in Calcutta, eastern India organized an outreach program for an indigenous community.
On March 22, the Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) team of Loreto Day School, Elliot Road, in association with Kolkata Mary Ward Social Centre (KMWSC), guided and accompanied by school principal Sister K. Clara and students visited the Lodha Community in Sagar Island, about 100 kilometers south of Calcutta in West Bengal state.
The wholehearted contributions made by teachers and students were distributed among the members of the tribal community.
In the past, the Lodha community used to earn their livelihoods as rat trappers and was an exploited segment of the population, totally neglected and ignored. Though now with the efforts of the KMWSC, they have come a long way in terms of their development, education, and employment, said Mrs. Sherin Andrews, the JPIC coordinator.
“It was a noble learning experience that gave us joy deep down in our hearts as we saw their innocent smiles of gratitude. This made us realize the true meaning of the maxim, ‘God loves a cheerful giver' by Mary Ward, founder of Loreto nuns,” said Anup Biswas, a staff of KMWSC.
Many students found the exposure to the tribal community enriching.
“When studying in a Loreto institution, we are often acquainted with teachings on giving more than you receive and being generous in the words of Mary Ward herself saying ‘God loves a cheerful giver,’” said Hailey Ann Caszo, a student of Loreto Day School.
The planning for this trip began a long time ago. Students were told that they would be donating sarees, notebooks, pencil boxes with essentials, and crayons. The girls of the school responded to this mission enthusiastically and were more than happy to help in this mission.
“It was a long journey that consisted of a three-hour bus ride, forty-five minutes on a ferry, and a thirty-minute jeep ride,” Caszo said.
When all reached the island, the Lodha community warmly welcomed the visitors. The women and children were thrilled in receiving just as were in giving.
“We then went to the Kolkata Mary Ward Social Centre’s office where we saw the artwork of all the talented children and the pictures of people who are a part of this project. This endeavor made us feel content and truly happy,” she said.
We would like to express our gratitude to our Principal, Sr. K. Clara, the J.P.I.C team, Anup Biswas, our teachers, and students for being so kind and generous for such a noble cause.
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