We have an End: The glory of the Heart of Jesus.A Mission: To Discover and make known the Love of His Heart.A spirituality: to be United and conformed to the Heart of Jesus. A Service in the Church and in the world of today: Transformative Education with a Preferential Love for the poor.
9. April, 2013Who We Are No comments
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  • St Theresa Girls High School, Haregaon, Maharashtra
  • Children of the New Dawn School, Torpa, Jharkhand
  • Sofia Centre for the education of women & children, Patna, Bihar

St Theresa Girls High School, Haregaon, Maharashtra

Haregaon was the third foundation of the Society of the Sacred Heart in India. We were invited by the German Jesuits of the Ahmednagar District.  They had already constructed a Convent building, with rooms  for a hostel and classrooms. On 14th May 1961, six sisters  arrived under the leadership of Sr. Bourke, ready to set the foundation of the first class of the High School for Girls of the district.  These were girls of the families of the first Christians from different mission stations, the fruit of the missionary zeal of the Jesuits. The girls had been waiting for this opportunity to  continue their studies and get the Secondary School  Certificate (SSC),  a gateway to further professional studies in the teaching and nursing line.

The first years were difficult ones for the Sisters as the place was bare of trees, open to the heat and dust of this region. A huge well was there to provide water, but there was no electricity, poor roads and a  few shops where just the basics of food and household items were available. With the rains the Sisters  set about  planting trees, flowering bushes and  when a wire compound was set up even some vegetables in the back garden.  Today a whole view of large trees and flowering bushes meets the eye as one enters the campus.

By June of the year 1961 the school officially started with one class of Std 8.  Sr. Bourke was the first Headmistress and together with Sr. Gertie  Alphonso and a local teacher for Marathi, the classes began.  A class was added each year till the first group of girls passed out in March 1965. The new and separate school building was also completed in 1965r. Slowly the number of teachers increased  to a full staff in 1985. In 1975 the girls of the middle school were also sent here from the Parish School.  We now had six classes and soon there were two divisions in each class. Many day students  joined the school and our numbers went up to three hundred. Today there are 550 girls in the school from Std 5 to Std 10.

Many traditions of Sacred Heart Education were introduced in the school.  There were two houses, Barat and Duschene, and Notes were given each week to each girl in the school – Very Good, Good or Satisfactory.  Today we have four Houses in the School, Red green, Blue and Yellow, each with an Indian woman as model – Jhansi ki Rani, Sarojini Naidu, Meerabai and Pandita Ramabai.  Every year Leaders and their assistants are elected  through  a proper voting procedure  – a Games Captain and her Assistant and a leader and assistant for each House. The leaders have many responsibilities in school and during different programmes. They also receive training  to develop their own gifts and share these  with others.

We are proud of our leaders From the beginning sports and games were given importance.  A special teacher is appointed    and regular physical education is given.  In the rainy season we have the inter house matches  of our Indian games, Kho-kho and Kabbadi.  In winter we have the athletics  sports on an individual level as well a relays. The winning house is given a trophy at Prize day.
As part of our cultural activities the girls learn the dances of our own Maharashtra as well as dances of other states.  These as well as plays in the three languages  are presented at our Annual prize day, when all the parents are invited. To create a greater interest in learning, teachers and students prepare models and charts on  special themes  in Science, Geography or Mathematics,  and regular exhibitions are held for the children of the neighbouring  schools.  We have been linked with surrounding primary schools to guide and animate them.

We  honour  all our national leaders and Heroes, learning about  their life and contribution to our history. We also celebrate our national festivals especially Diwali , the festival of lights, and Christmas the birth of Jesus. Girls of all religions take part in the celebration and learn about each others’ beliefs. Together we celebrate our National Days, 15th August  – Independence day and 26th January – Republic Day. Daily at Assembly we sing the National anthem and take the promise to honour our country and respect all Indians.

We have an Ex-Students  organization and they meet each year to see how they can help the School and our people.  They have a Fund to help our own ex-students with further studies. Many ex-students come back to the School and teach us. They re very proud and grateful for all they receive.  We are proud to say that our present Headmistress is also and ex-student.  And so the Sacred Heart tradition continues in our school and in the families of our ex-students.

Sofia Centre for the education of women & children, Patna, Bihar

In 2001 we opened a non-formal Sofia Centre in a rented house to provide the children from the lower strata of society with  basic education of functional literacy, hygiene and home skills.

Unable to meet the rising costs of rent and electricity we asked for help from the late Mr. Rafael Shah, a friend of the Society and Director of St. Paul’s School 10 km away from our house He offered his school premises after their school hours, free of payment of rent, water, electricity.

We are grateful for the help received from the Central Society of the Sacred Heart, friends and benefactors of the International Society of the Sacred Heart. Some method needs to be found of earning enough to carry on the work for these needy children

Sofia Centre introduced some innovative steps to create more interest among the parents to encourage the children to attend classes regularly. Knowing that the present  Government have been thinking of improving the system of education in Bihar and that the parents too are keen on their wards to master English and mathematics better we divided the children in to smaller groups according to their level of their performance. We give preference to the education of girls as this is a neglected area among these families

In the past years we have had teachers and volunteers for short periods of time from the Netherlands, England and Germany coming to work and get some experience of a different culture and system of education. The children always enjoyed having someone from a different culture and race.

Restricted by space and time and with little infrastructure we have not been able to provide a more quality education for these deserving children. Nevertheless we saw tangible improvement, enthusiasm and interest among the parents and children for good education and character formation. A good number of children have joined the mainstream of schooling. Many of our children appear for the entrance test in Government schools to get admission to Middle school and they are continuing their education. A few who are older have dropped out of the school and are engaged in some income-generating and vocational training. We have great hope that these children in spite of their complex situations they face in the world outside they would make use of the education they have received and try to stand on their own strength and purpose.

.mary Varghese
Sofia Centre-Patna

To know more about us please visit our website : www. Sofia-children .com

 

Who we are..?

We are a small, diverse and inclusive group, welcoming in our midst a variety of socio-cultural backgrounds, ages and temperaments. Primarily an educational congregation, our earliest ventures were in the field of education

Sophia College for Women in Mumbai was our first foundation in 1941, and remains the institution with which we are most often associated. The College has continued to grow in the years since then, and while some sisters continue to work there, a number have moved on into other areas of service. Today, the range includes Schools, Colleges& Nursery Schools.