- Written by Dr. Thomas Cherukat
Greetings from India
Dear Friends of Fransalians,
Greetings and good wishes to each one of you from Mysore. On 30 July 2019 I am turning 70. I thank God Almighty for the gift of life that I have received from Him and the many blessings He has showered on me during the past 70 years of my life and 44 years as a priest. It is my wish and prayer that Jesus who called me to be a priest and missionary all these years will continue to help me to work for the poor and needy so that “they may have life and life in abundance”. (Jn.10.10) On this occasion I wish to express my deep sentiments of joy and gratitude to all of you for your continued friendship, affection and support for me and for my work in the missions.
It was in the year 2005 that the Freundeskreis der Fransalianer was founded at Moembris/Kahlgrund in Germany. Today the Freundeskreis consists of around 40 registered members who have always been very close to me and actively involved in mobilising support for our work in the missions especially in Chad and Cameroon. I am very much indebted to each one of them. Besides the registered members of the Freundeskreis we have over 200 well-wishers and benefactors who contribute regularly in support of our various projects in the missions. I am indeed very grateful to each one of them for their love and concern towards the poorest of the poor in our missions in Africa and in India.
I hope to make a visit to Europe from 1st July till the end of August 2019 chiefly to take up a parochial representation in South Tyrol in Italy. I am looking forward to the joy of meeting at least some of you in person during my visits in Germany, Austria and Italy.
OUR PRIORITIES IN CHAD AND CAMEROON
The ongoing educational projects in our missions of Chad and Cameroon are indeed a great blessing for a large number of people in Chad and Cameroon who are otherwise deprived of the opportunity for basic quality education. Bringing education to the poorest has always been the our prime concern of the Fransalians. At present the Fransalians are managing five important schools: 4 in Chad and 1 in Cameroon. All the five schools are of recent origin and they are yet to be fully developed. We have also 2 Boys’ Homes in Chad, one in Doba and another in Bero. I am happy to give here below a few details on each of them.
- SFS School Ngaoundéré in North Cameroon, started in the year 2015 has 268 children in 7 classes. We need to upgrade this school with 9 more class rooms. A compound wall and a playground are also urgent needs.
- St. Francis de Sales School Doba, Chad, started in the year 2018 has 72 children in 2 classes. We need to construct a few more class rooms in the coming year. A compound wall is also a must.
- St. Francis de Sales School Bero, Chad, started in the year 2004 has 246 children in 7 classes. A compound wall is the immediate need.
- St. Daniel Upper Primary School Doba, Chad, started in the year 2004 has 385 children in 8 classes.
- St. Daniel High School, Doba, Chad started in the year 2014 has 615 children in 17 classes. Construction of an administrative block is the immediate need.
- S.F.S. Boys’ Home, Bero, started in 2008 has 43 inmates. Construction of a separate block with a study hall and recreation hall is an urgent need.
- S.F.S. Boys’ Home, Doba, started in 2018 has 15 inmates. Need to complete the ongoing construction.
Over 1500 children of whom around 700 are girls receive quality education through the above schools. The number of children is expected to swell in the coming years as and when we have the necessary infrastructure in place. At present 45 teachers are employed in these schools.
Thanks to the generosity of some of our benefactors in Germany, the villages of Missimadji and Sindalolo under the Bero Mission in Chad have been fortunate to get regular supply of clean and safe drinking water through the 2 wells dug recently. The people are indeed very grateful to the benefactors who have made it possible. This is an ongoing project in Chad and North Cameroon. During the past few years we have been able to provide more than 20 wells to the far-flung villages of Bero and Doba. We are looking forward to friends and benefactors to help us continue this project without interruption. Our sincere thanks to all our donors.
The ongoing program of sponsorships continues to benefit a large number of poorest children in Chad and Cameroon. This program was started in 2014 under the Amisales in Rome. After my return to India, the program is brought under Vikasjyothi in Mysore which operates in close collaboration with the Amisales. Together with Amisales over 800 poor children in India and Africa are helped through partial scholarship every year. In the past one year Vikasjyothi alone has been able to make a significant contribution towards the education of the poor children mainly from Chad and Cameroon and from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand States in India. We have been able to grant partial scholarships to over 250 children from Karnataka and Kerala besides the 150 children supported in our Chad-Cameroon Mission. We are looking forward to more friends and benefactors to help us to expand this program and reach out to many more poor children both in India and in Africa. We are grateful to all those who have accepted the sponsorships and for their regular contributions towards this cause. Thank you one and all.
Flood relief in South India
I am very grateful to all those who have responded to my appeal for help towards the relief works in South India in the aftermath of the severe floods that hit the three southern states of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamilnadu. The Fransalians in the three States are actively involved in the relief and reconstruction works. Twenty houses are being built in Kerala for the poorest and 14 damaged houses in Karnataka are repaired or renovated. Cash contributions were sent towards relief activities in Tamilnadu. Vikasjyothi along with Amisales in Rome has been able to make a contribution of Euro 12.000 towards the Common Relief Fund of the Fransalians in Bangalore. Sincere thanks to all those who have contributed towards this project. God bless.
Thomas Cherukat, MSFS
Greetings from Chad-Cameroon
Dear friends and well wishes,
Greetings of peace and joy to each one of you all from the Chad Cameroon Mission of the Fransalians. I am very happy to be in touch with you through the Agape Newsletter. We the Fransalians in Chad-Cameroon Mission wish to express our sincere thanks and appreciation for all what you are for us. Your prayers and financial support for our projects strengthen us in our work for the poor people in the remote missions of Chad and Cameroon.
I am happy to inform you that all our projects and programs are going on well in spite of the frequent attacks of diseases like malaria and typhoid which are quite rampant in the region. Political and civil strife in certain sectors of the two countries are quite alarming and a constant cause for fear and anxiety.
Trusting in God and supported by so many generous people from within and outside we the Fransalians are moving ahead with great hope and optimism. The five educational institutions we have started in recent years are growing from strength to strength. They are truly the beacon of hope for the many future generations. The two children’s homes and the ongoing drinking water project in Chad provide the much needed support and hope for the poor.
Our mission suffered a heavy loss when one of our young students in theology suddenly passed away. Brother Emmanuel Cyrille, a Cameroonian student was diagnosed with cancer and died on 26th March 2019. He was only 30 years old and was due for priestly ordination in the year 2021. It has been a great shock for the entire mission. May his soul rest in peace.
We thank you dear friends and well-wishers for your prayers, support and encouragement in our missionary journey. May the Spirit of God bind us together with a strong bond of love and affection. We look forward to your continued support for our work in the missions and we promise our prayers for you and for your near and dear ones.
Fr. Manoj Xavier Arackal, MSFS