On August 23, 2008, more than 100 Christians were brutally killed. Houses, churches, convents, and Church institutions were set on fire, damaged and vandalized. The convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Annecy in Sankarakhol (Khandhamal), Odisha-India was set on fire and the three Sisters escaped killing by hiding in the woods for two days and nights. Rather than leave this dangerous area of Christian persecution the Sisters reopened their convent in the year 2009 with a renewed vigor to serve the persecuted Christians to be the beacon of hope.

Learning of this persecution a group of Catholics began to collect money for what they called the “Orissa Widows.”

The Sisters started their mission by organizing the widows and poor women into Self Help Groups (SHG), provided them with loan to start small income generating trades. This has transformed the lives of over 180 families with 13 SHGs. 

Those who contributed to this need began to ask the Sisters about other ways they could help with the building the lives of the persecuted Christians. The Sisters and the people of the area identified the need for education.  The Sisters and their donors founded Saint Joseph English Medium School for the lost and the least children of this area, especially the children of various tribes and outcast. 

After years of fund-raising, the school has now opened. The Sisters are proud of their new school. A few dignitaries were present on the occasion, the Minister from State Government, Archbishop and many other Government officials. It was truly dream come true for the poor people of Kandhamal (Odisha State).

Sisters Rising Worldwide has assisted in this fundraising effort since 2018 with $17,217 passing through us directly to the Sisters to help with the building of the school.  Donations to assist with the start-up costs are still being accepted.  Go to www.sistersrisingworldwide.org/donate.

Cutting the ribbon of the new school

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