It has been almost 10 years since the Sisters of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Holy Cross began their apostolate in East Nepal. There they help provide schooling to children from the poorest families. They have also established residential hostels so that children from distant villages can also attend school. Many of these children have a three-hour bicycle ride to undertake to return home to their families at the beginning of the school holidays. If they did not have the opportunity to stay in these Church-run boarding houses, they would not be able to attend school at all.
The Sisters also offer sewing courses for women who have had little or no opportunity to gain a school education. At the same time, they teach these women how to set aside modest savings so that in the event of emergencies – for example if a family member has to go to hospital or if there is a wedding in the family – they will not have to get into debt by borrowing from the big local landowners, who then demand exorbitant rates of interest which these impoverished people are unable to pay – with the result that they then become trapped in a cycle of debt dependency. Most of these poor families have to live from hand to mouth, and many of them can only find temporary work as seasonal laborers on the tea plantations and rice fields of the big landowners.
The Sisters also run mobile health clinics and provide medical care for the people in the remote mountain villages. Every time the Sisters visit the villages, they are greeted by crowds of sick people, waiting hopefully. Those they cannot treat on the spot the Sisters transport to the nearest available clinic.
Yet another role Sisters play is that of teaching catechism classes in the parish. They also work with young people and visit the families in their homes, especially in October and May, when they pray the Rosary together with them.
The biggest problem facing the Sisters, however, is the fact they have no vehicle of their own. Every time they have to transport the sick, they have to borrow a vehicle. And they absolutely need a vehicle in order to be able to reach their new mission station in Korobari, which is 55 miles away. There are two buses daily, but after 1:30 p.m. there is no public transportation available. The only means of transportation after that is by bicycle or by ox-drawn cart, so the sick have to wait till the next day, when the bus comes again.
The Sisters also have to transport various kinds of materials, since they have recently opened a school here. It is no more than a simple bamboo hut, but the children learning there are the very first generation to have ever been able to benefit from formal schooling.
Not surprisingly, the Sisters have appealed for help so that they can tackle all these many different tasks. A vehicle would help their work enormously. But it needs to be a robust and sturdy vehicle, capable of driving off-road, since the road conditions are in any case very poor. ACN is happy to help, and we have promised them $36,300 for a suitable vehicle.
Will you give to support these Holy Cross Sisters as they provide education and health services to the poor in Nepal? We are sure they will remember you in their grateful prayers.
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