ProMagazine 10.38-3 ENG

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Edition 10.38–3 / April - May - Juin 2021 Recognition number: P913793

your link with solidarity

Why save the Kulasai primary school in India from closure? The Indian government is threatening to shut down the Kulasai Primary School. Father Lobo, an alumnus of the KU Leuven, has good reasons to fight for its preservation. Not only for the educational opportunities, but also for the economic interest of the most vulnerable part of the local population! A first explicit request for aid from Fr. Lobo Father Lobo studied as a priest at KU Leuven. He combined his PhD studies with a part-time job as pastor at the English-speaking parish ‘Our Lady of Mercy’ (Waterloo/ Uccle). Additionally, he also volunteered at the Missio/PMSBelgium. As the Asiadesk manager, he was responsible for the administrative follow-up of subsidy applications (vehicle project and mass intentions) from Asia, primarily India. If he asked for help at all, it was to help others. In the spring of 2019, he was summoned back rather unexpectedly by the newly appointed bishop of his ‘home diocese’ Tuticorin, in the south of India. As pastor of the St. Joseph Church in Udangudi, he was also responsible for three schools. One of them required immediate attention.

School threatened with closure The Kulasai Primary School performs poorly with regard to the stability and safety. The sanitary facilities fail to meet the norms. The government was clear: “If the problems are not resolved soon, the school will have to close.” This is quite an understandable position. In good weather, the teachers prefer to teach outside rather than in the classrooms... This begs the question: how does one finance a newconstruction project, while ensuring classes for 125 students, as well as room for growth? The first phase has already been achieved: the foundations for the planned new building have been created, financed by the diocese. For

the construction of the actual building, an additional sum of € 35.000 is needed.

Why save the Kulasai Primary School? 1) The foundation is already there, it would be a shame to waste the money that has already been invested by the diocese; 2) The quality of the education in that school is highly regarded within the neighbourhood; 3) Unlike surrounding schools, which are not run by the diocese, it is an ‘open school’, and welcomes people of all religions and origins;

Colophon Editing: Robert Vastmans R.P.: Pierre Van den Bossche Thanks to (input and photos): Mgr. Stephen Antony, Fr. Lobo Promildon, Vincenzo Girardi, Mayomi Kato, Mabel ParedesNichtova

4) A sum of € 20.000 has already been pledged. Overall, it is not an issue that the balance of ‘only’ € 15.000 will only become available in a few months. As soon as Father Lobo is fairly certain of being able to finance everything, he can get the constructors to start building. 5) ‘English language classes’ will be available! Father Lobo did research on teaching English to non-native children at the KU Leuven Faculty of Arts.

Translation: KU Leuven Virtueel Vertaalbureau

Perspective for the most vulnerable part of the local population

Lay-out & printing: De Windroos nv

The government has recently approved of the biggest investment projects, which will be realised in the school surroundings.

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1) the implantation of a space centre; 2) the construction of a big power station and the necessary coal supply line, with the seaport being earmarked for major renovations and big expansion plans. This last project worries Father Lobo greatly. The local population is very dependent on seafood. That source of income and food is threatened by the increased port activity. However, the large projects also present opportunities. Youngsters who master the English language will be able to find a job that pays quite well, and so they will succeed in climbing up the social ladder. It is exactly that perspective which makes the intended investment in Kulasai Primary School so worthwhile.

Accept the challenge. Join us! OurNewChapter is fundraising to help Father Lobo by clocking up KMs through exercise. The idea is to consolidate all our kilometres so we can virtually travel from Brussels to Kulasai Primary School. We have to reach 8.350 kms. Each km is worth 0.50 euros. You can join us in adding more kms to our total as well as donate 0.50 euros for each km you complete. Add yourself to the blog with your own progress. Else you can support financially. Visit our website to see our progress. To support this specific project, please quote ‘Kulasai Primary School 2020/78’

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