08/06/2015, 00.00
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For 50 years, PIME school in Dinajpur trains “young witness of Christ” at work

by Sumon Corraya
The Novara Technical School was founded in 1965 by Fr Faustino Cescato. It is one of the foremost vocational schools in the country and offers courses in mechanical and electrical trades, carpentry, and radio technology. “We did not come to be served but to serve,” its director says.

Dinajpur (AsiaNews) – “For 50 years, teachers at the Novara Technical School (NTS) have played a role in reducing unemployment in the north of the country. I hope the school will continue to exist, and I thank the PIME missionaries for their outstanding contribution,” said Syed Jahangir Alam, a Muslim and the mayor of Dinajpur, acknowledging the achievements of the vocational school established by Fr Faustino Cescato (1930-2003) in 1965 in cooperation with the Diocese of Novara (Italy).

The school, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, is one of Bangladesh’s foremost vocational institutions, with courses in mechanic and electrical trades, carpentry, and radio technology. So far, 2,321 Christian students have attended the school.

“Everything I know I acquired it at the school,” Hilarious Gomes, a former student, told AsiaNews. “It helped me in my professional life. To get where I am I needed willpower, honesty and hard work, things I learnt at NTS.”

Thanks to the "exceptional lessons I learnt at Novara Technical School, I have never been unemployed in 40 years, and I am grateful to the school and its directors," said Kamal Paul Gragori, one of NTS’s first students. At present, he is the dean of the Bonpara Christian Trade School.

 “By getting an education at the Novara Training School, youths can find a job without bribing to do so,” said Sylvester Corraya, one of the school’s teachers. “Students who have trained at the school can build a career like a bird that weaves its nest. Come rain or shine, or storms, they can build their own household.”

The school’s purpose "is to provide good vocational training, as well as good human education,” PIME regional superior Fr Franco Cagnasso said.

“Our former students are now among millions of other workers. They often have a good reputation because they are reliable and honest,” the missionary noted. “They bear witness to the Christian faith, and through them the Church is present among the working class."

Although PIME missionaries face personnel shortages in Bangladesh, “We hope and pray to continue the valuable service of the Novara Technical School,” Fr Cagnasso said.

Similarly, “We hope that the local church understands the importance of the school for the good of young people and have people willing to take responsibility for future generations."

"We did not come to be served but to serve,” said Brother Massimo Cattaneo, director of the institute, “and this is the way we serve."

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