Gnanmata Sadan and Zari – Social outreach visit on 25/11/2022
“Leadership is a privilege to better the lives of others”.
They say when God closes one door he opens a window and how true this turned out to be for us at St.Xavier’s Boys’ Academy. The twinning of SXBA school with Prabhodhan Vidyalaya Ambatha ( a decision taken by the Mumbai Province Jesuits much before I donned the leadership hat as Principal of SXBA) for our social outreach programme was something we as staff were very committed to and passionate about. However I was very disappointed that it did not take place this academic year 2022- 2023 in the way it was originally planned. Because I am convinced of the positive and far reaching life changing effects this programme has had on the character formation of my students in the past years, I did not want to miss offering this opportunity to our students even if it was to be done in a different way.
This academic year though we were very eager and excited to restart our Social Outreach programme after a gap of two years (owing to the Pandemic) we encountered a number of difficulties from the very start. The laws of the land have become more stringent where the safety and security of children is concerned so I did not have a choice but to make this social outreach programme optional for the students of Std.9. However I was delighted that 20 students volunteered with a written consent from their parents. Hence I was determined to make the social outreach programme happen even if it was only for 20 students, 2 staff members and a parent who accompanied me to Talassari – Gnanmata Sadan and Zari on 25/11/2022.
When I was looking out for a way forward from this unexpected situation two exemplary Jesuits – Fr.Yohan s.j. and Br.Tommy Vaz s.j. came to my aid. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to both of them. We did not have the luxury of a bus ride from the school campus to Talassari and so my boys, staff and parent had to rough it out throughout the journey. We used the public transport i.e local trains / outstation trains / local ST Bus to reach our destination. Believe me I was amazed to see the boys happy and having a good time despite the cumbersome journey. Not a word of complaint reached my ears from any of these 19 students who faced every discomfort with resilience and took everything in their stride.
Fr.Yohan s.j. was the most gracious host who warmly welcomed us to his beautiful place – Gnanmata Sadan. He catered to our every need with a smile. My gratitude also to Fr.Joe Gonsalves s.j. who drove us in his jeep to ‘Zari’ so that our students could interact and get to know the students of ‘Zari’. Since time just flew by we could not have a longer stay as desired by my students. My worry was to return the students to the school campus at 7.00 p.m. as we had promised their parents.
If we have Jesuits like Fr.Yohan s.j. and Br.Tommy s.j. the legacy of St.Ignatius and the ‘Magis’ can become a ‘reality’ rather than merely remain a concept for contemplation. Both of them supported, went out of their way, did everything they possibly could to encourage, enthuse and enable us to conduct our Social outreach visit to Talassari.
My staff members - Mr.Larry Pereira, Mr.Nepolian Almeida and a parent representative – Mrs.Rathod were exemplary in their support and service extended to our students at this outreach programme. I am very grateful to them.
Since truth comes out from the mouth of babes I will attach the reports and reflection of the students in their very own words. Do spend a few minutes reading them.
Thank you and may God Bless each and everyone who reached out to us on our visit to Talassari and back.
Ms. Preema Noronha