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Sirajuli Pre-Novices teach 500 poor children

By C. M. Paul
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Guwahati, Oct. 6.  A group of young men preparing to enter Salesian order have started taking classes for children from their neighborhood. The pre-novices surveyed the villages belonging to nine ethnic groups to collect the data of school going children and school drop-out youth of the area.

Divided into five groups according to their age and level of education, some 500 children are given free tuition and free spoken English classes daily.
''For three months, we went to different villages for data collection of the dropout students and invited the children who have the eagerness to learn English,'' said the coordinator of the program, Br. Swellsborn G. Momin.

The classes officially began September 25.

The students come from different villages belonging to Muslims, Hindu, Adivasi, Bihari, Boro, Assamese, Santali, Oriya and Nepali communities.

Every day after school, children troop in to Don Bosco Centre Sirajuli in Sonitpur district of Assam for the classes which begin at 3.30 pm. The 75-minute program begins with a brief assembly consisting of a song and the Lord's Prayer before they disperse to their respective classes.

The classes are divided into five groups and are held on the corridors, courtyard and under trees.

''The portion for their study differs from class to class. For higher classes, we teach grammar and for the lower classes, we familiarize them with the alphabets, rhythm and moral values and hygiene. We also teach them action songs and games during the weekend,'' says Br Kamaleshwar Basumatary, who teaches study methods for senior classes.

Recounting the benefits of the program Rector Fr Joe Almeida says, ''It is really a great experience to see several clusters of children and our 18 pre-novices taking classes all over the campus and the building... the exercise benefits both the children as well as the pre-novices.''
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