India – Solidarity and education: cornerstones of social and educational action of Sonada Salesian Institute

04 August 2020

(ANS - Sonada) - While for months India has been grappling with the challenges created by the pandemic, a Salesian educational center, located in the state of West Bengal, near Darjeeling, not far from the border with Nepal, uses every means to meet the demands of those in need, offering material support, digitized lessons and scholarships. This is the case of the Salesian Institute of Sonada.

In their social commitment to helping the most needy, the school is represented by the Dean of the Institute and Salesian past pupil Terence Mukhia, who is also the President of the Society United Christian Minorities Welfare of Sonada (SUCMWS), an organization that gathers 14 Christian groups from the Sonada area.

“Initially we were afraid of being infected and exposing my family members at risk. Still, I felt that something had to be done, not as an individual, but as a community," says prof. Mukhia.

This is how the professor, ever since two young people knocked on his door asking for help, has come to lead a rescue project for migrant workers from Nepal, Christians in need of the Sonada locality, who have been stuck in the Sonada area and barely manage to survive. Overall, from June 4 to July 29, SUCMWS organized five expeditions for the delivery of aid, relying on the contribution of many: “The resources - in money, goods or services - arrived generously from religious, priests, lay people, members of family and friends,” says the professor.

Furthermore, since the main purpose of the Salesian school is education, the leaders of the institute have continued to work hard also in this sector. Thus, from 1 May and until early July - before the start of the exams - they made available the radio station "Darjeeling Radio Salesian" (90.8) for the English-language broadcast of 10-15 minutes of 12 subjects to the benefit of the students of 64 colleges affiliated to the University of North Bengal.

The project, called "Radio Edu Pods", saw the voluntary participation of about 50 professors from 9 colleges. They recorded their lessons with their mobile phones and sent them to the editorial staff of "Darjeeling Radio Salesian" on WhatsApp for editing. And to ensure that students can access the lessons without time limits, they have also been adapted for video and uploaded to the SALESIAN TV YouTube channel.

Finally, looking ahead to the next school year, the school management has decided not to raise school fees and to offer 30 scholarships to its students, divided into six categories. As school principal Fr George Thadathil explained: "It is our continuous effort to make higher education accessible to students who otherwise would not be able to attend."


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

This site also uses third-party cookies to improve user experience and for statistical purposes. By scrolling through this page or by clicking on any of its elements, you consent to the use of cookies. To learn more or to opt out, click "Further Information".