Guwahati’s "monuments of mercy": scholarships for deserving students
Msgr. John Moolachira speaks of the initiatives implemented in response to the call of Pope Francis. For years the archdiocese finances studies for worthy young people. From now on, the scholarships will become official. Those who pass the 10th class exams with good grades, will receive subsidies until the third year of university. A contribution of 2,600 euros for catechists; building schools in villages far from major urban centers.
Guwahati (AsiaNews) – Support for deserving students through scholarships funded by the archdiocese: This is the aim of the new program launched in Guwahati, in the Indian state of Assam, in response to the appeal launched by Pope Francis to found works of mercy in all the dioceses of the world.
Archbishop John Moolachira, speaks with enthusiasm of the constant work of the local Catholic Church in favor of young people. Most of them, said the prelate, "are poor. For years the archdiocese has partially financing higher studies for young people from our parishes. But now, this support will become a regular commitment of our pastoral work".
Msgr. Moolachira explains aspects of the program aimed at young people: "Those who have passed the 10th class exams with good grades, will receive the grant for the 11th and 12th class. From now on, every year we will fund a group of at least five students, paying for their studies from 11th class until the third year of university”.
The Indian class system is more complex than the Western: the first four classes are attended by students between 6 and 9 years of age; from fifth to seventh class, are the years of so-called "middle school"; from eighth to 10th class, are called "lower school". To move to the real high school (11th and 12th grade) students must sit an exam, like a graduation examination. If the student passes he or she can enroll in high school, which however only accepts a limited number of pupils.
To address the lack of school facilities, said the archbishop, "we are expanding our schools, as well as the number of those in parishes. But the lack of resources is always a challenge. Every year we try to build one or two schools in those villages that are far from towns or our parochial schools”.
"The commitment to the education of our children - he continues - was felt immediately as an urgent necessity for the diocese, even before the Pope’s appeal”.
During the Year of Mercy, when the Archdiocese also will celebrate the 25th year of its foundation, the Archbishop has also decided to donate 200 thousand rupees (just over 2,600 euro) to every catechist.
Msgr. Moolachira concludes: "The sum will be used to build, repair or expand their homes. The majority of them are poor. We want to help them in some way, even if our contribution is not huge".