The much quoted axiom “God helps those, who help themselves” was once more established at Oxford Mission Behala. The vow to generate further income
locally was accelerated with the inception of “Sponsorship of Individual Hostel Boys.” An instant acceptance by five sponsorers has not only been morale-boosting but has invigorated us to achieve a ten percent sponsorship target by the end of the
year. (Present hostel boys strength being 125).
The dice was actually rolled with Lilias Redpath and Doris Telfer (U.K.) sponsoring one orphan kid and another semi-orphan boy from St. Nicholas’ Home, just three months back.
Concerted efforts and random publicity have been instrumental for collecting funds from the recently renovated and furnished Mission House Guest Rooms (Total Nine Rooms, Two Air-conditioned, Seven non-A.C.); the donations collected from
usage of the Mathieson Memorial Music Centre, the O.M. Behala Library and Play-ground ‘B’ have been encouraging.
The Indian Naval Wives Welfare Association at Kolkata, having included our Mission Boys in their “ Outreach Programme” have broadened intake of our out-going musicians in the Indian Navy.
Blessings have also been showered upon us from several unexpected sources; notable ones being a sum of Rs. One Lac by Mr. Prosenjit Guha (U.K.) for Boys Food, Education, Well being ; Rs. 39,500.00 by St. Thomas’ Church, Howrah for Boy’s Excursions, Rs. 20,000/- from a well wisher, Mrs.Bansari Laha, for High School boys
school shirts, Badges, Belts.
The Boys Annual Aquatic Sports (2015) was held on September 11, 2015, Mr. Aniket Deb Roy, Principal, St. Thomas’ Day School, presided and had sponsored all the prizes.Two donors from Seattle, USA, reached us, in person, having seen videos of our Boys Orchestra. Their individual donations of Rs. 5,000/- each, supplemented with mutton dishes for supper were accepted with smiles and gratitude.
Help Age India, N, Delhi have very graciously completed a Memorundum of Understanding with us to provide, free of cost, medical assistive and fitness electronic equipments, as a multi-facility “Fitness and Therapy” Health Package for elderly beneficiaries, worth Rs. 2,44,525/-. This, on receipt, shall be a boom for Santi Nivash Old Age Home Inmates and Fr. Peter Thorman’s Concave Senior Citizen Residents.
Another sizeable donation of Rupees One Lac given by Rotary Club Behala, specifically, for thorough repairs, renovations of the Oxford Mission’s St. Joseph’s Primary School first floor classrooms and ancillaries was fully utilised. An auspicious inauguration was organised on 15 June 2015, with prominent Rotarians in attendance.
An aged and infirm Anglo Indian Lady having witnessed our boy musicians playing Wood-wind instruments ‘live’ at a music concert, presented her late husband’s ‘Selmer, London Make’ Clarinet, worth Rs. One Lac and unused since the last twenty years, to Oxford Mission, believing her husband’s soul shall be comforted each and every time, a Mission boy plays a music piece on his much cherished Clarinet.
The most treasured and coveted donation received by us on September 03, 2015, was from a road-side bicycle van vendor, who sells home-made evening snacks every evening. He had witnessed while trading on the foot-path outside the OM boundary wall, a near eighty year old Rain-Tree withering to it’s natural death on the brink of the pond, adjacent to the O.M. Chapel. With extreme humble-ness, he appealed for donating twenty saplings from his personal mini-nursery for the Mission’s compound. The solemn act was completed forthwith with gusto and vigour, on the following day.
Boys Curriculum Vitae :
1. With summer on the wings, a CUB CAMP, within the OM campus was organised on May 09, 2015 with twenty-one cubs participating under, two Cub-Masters and one Scout Master. The programme included Tent Making, Gadgets, knotting and ended with a cultural programme.
2. A SCOUT CAMP was organised from May 15th to 17th 2015 at Child Development Project, Chinsurah, Hooghly, 75 kms away from Behala, with forty-four Boys Scouts, the Hostel Warden alongwith two Scout Masters. Schedule of events included Tent Making, Gadgetory, Advanced Knotting, Signaling, First-Aid, Baden Powell’s Fit Exercises, finishing with a grand camp-fire.
A 45 Seater Volvo bus ferried the boys to and fro and in addition was used for visiting the ancient Bandel Church and other near-by places of historical importance.
3. Two Class XI boys and one ex-boy (2013 batch) having been selected for employment in the Indian Navy, added fresh feathers to OM’s bandana.
4. OMTA approved sixteen hostel boy musicians to appear for the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music – London, Grade Examination, scheduled on 3rd and 07th October 2015. This has created unprecedented enthusiasm amongst the junior boys, now in their learning stages.
The OM Boys Orchestra earned laurels for their grand performance at the St. Andrew’s Church, Kolkata Bicentenary Celebrations and at St. Paul’s Cathedral Priests Induction Services.
5. Simon Ghorui, the OM lad, long sponsored by Lilias Redpath, having discontinued studies has just obtained a regular motor driving license and presently undergoing training as an Office Peon –cum- Helper, now has a definite destination in sight.
6. Pallab Mondal, the ex-OM Assistant Warden, presently an Indian Navy soldier cum musician, spent a day of his Annual Leave with the boys, sharing
his experiences and achievements made possible only with inputs received during his ten years stay as a hostelier with OM Behala. He exemplified his obligation and attachment by sponsoring one St. Nick’s boy from September 2015 onwards.
7. The scheduled calendar-events observed and celebrated by the boys were namely, “Douglass Day on July 22, 2015, Independence Day (August 15)”, an age-wise Sit-and – draw competition on September 10,2015, and Aquatic Sports on September 11,2015.
8. The only grey spot recorded were the immoral acts, tantamounting to gross indiscipline, initially by three hosteliers of Class-X, followed by two other Class- VIII boys for similar causes. OMTA unilaterally approved discharge of all six boys to establish total non acceptance of such misconduct by boys, in future.
Note-worthy Events :
1. The serene and sombre ambience, in tandem with the sanctified Mission compound at Behala were reasons enough for selection as the ideal location for two ‘Retreats.’
Firstly – From 17th to 20th June 2015 for one Lady and two Gentlemen Deacons of the Calcutta Diocese(CNI).
Again from 05th to 08th August 2015 for Revd. Peter Baldev, the Bishop Elect of the Lucknow Diocese (CNI), conducted by The Most Revd. P. K. Samanta Roy, Moderator, CNI and Revd. Mrs. Lily Samanta Roy.
On both the occasions the OM boys choir and orchestra participated in the devotions.
2. The Secretary / Administrator visited the Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreign Contribution Office, N. Delhi from 05th to 08th August 2015, to sort out the duplication of titles pertaining to one Registration number issued by M.H.A. to Oxford Mission and Santi Nivash Old Age Home. The documents called for have since been provided and a fresh Government letter is awaited.
3. The much awaited meeting between the Hon’ble Mayor of Kolkata and the O.M. Administrator was held in the former’s Office on August 14, 2015. The
near morbid KMC property tax imposition is likely to be resolved soon.
4. Like a thorn pricking into the dwindling funds at our disposal, seventy-five
running feet of the brick-masonary boundary wall, adjacent to the main gate of Fr. Peter Thorman’s Concave, collapsed by itself on the morning of June 23, 2015, envolving a repair cost of Rs. 93,000/-. Reconstruction has been held in abeyance after a makeshift tin barricade, on bamboo framework was erected temporarily.
5. A mere mention of funds for OM Behala, sends jitters at all levels. The UK grant now drastically shrunken, by a forty three percent reduction, as compared to 2012, suffices barely for five and a half calendar months, per annum. The locally collected donations supplement another two months. The deficit is being recouped since the last three years from encashments of Fixed Deposits in OM Behala’s Local Fund Assets. An early in-depth analysis with factual derivatives is considered to be the call for the day !
Eminent Visitors :
The Mission was honoured by the visits of :
a) Uberto Orlando, an eminent musician from London on 20th April, 2015. He proposed a pilot project with professionally trained musicians from abroad with all expenses to be funded by OM Behala which the Trustees felt unfeasible presently.
b) Mr. Hisayoshi Matsui, General Manager, Yamaha Japan along with his team comprising of Japanese keyboard officials came on 15 September 2015 to meet our boy musicians and peep into our collection of musical instruments. They departed satisfied.
The Management Committee, Staff and all hostel boys of O.M. Behala, consider it
most necessary to convey their heart-felt gratitude to all U.K. Committee members
and individual donors for their prayers and benevolent contributions.
Under the very able guidance and persistent monitoring by our Chairman, Trustees,
Advisory Committee Members, we shall soon cross the bridge, named
With solemn praises to the Almighty and good wishes from all of us at Behala to all
Colonel Subir Ghosh (Retd)