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Catholic school finally gets its own building

Tribal children in Bangladesh say goodbye to open-air classes

Catholic school finally gets its own building
Tribal kids attending the opening of their new school building
Liton Leo Das, Naogaon

January 11, 2011

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Bishop Gervas Rozario of Rajshahi diocese has opened a new building at the first Catholic school in Bangladesh’s northwestern Noagaon district. The new building at St. Paul Junior High School which opened on Jan. 10 will accommodate 500 mostly tribal children from playgroup age to sixth grade. “People can now send their kids to this nice school for formal and moral education to be happy in future life,” Bishop Rozario told “For various reasons tribal people are neglected and deprived of their rights. With a good education they can destroy the vicious circle of poverty,” he added. Previously, local children were forced to attend classes on the verandahs of boarding hostels and dilapidated tin-roofed mud houses. Monsoons and bad winter weather made school a misery for a good part of the year. “The new school building makes me happy. I’ll no longer get wet from the rain,” said Kujur, 11, a fifth-grade tribal Oraon Catholic student. Shelfail Das, 12, a Catholic and sixth-grader agreed. “Our teachers also suffered to hold classes in small space. Now we can attend classes peacefully,” she noted. Former student, Samson Hasdak, a tribal Santal Catholic, noted that many worthy students had dropped out in the past. “They left because of a lack in schooling facilities,” he said. Father Ignatius Bindu Hembrom, parish priest of Chandpukur parish, who headed the building project, told that income from parish-owned lands will finance school expenses including the payment of teachers. Primary education up to fifth grade is free in Bangladesh government schools. Most of the Church-run primary schools also provide free education. Related reports Diocese aims to provide education for all Bangladesh education revamp gets Church nod Non-Church schools take on saints’ names BA12796.1636
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