KISHOR NAGAR TODAY
How many are we?
At the beginning of the academic year (2013-14) we were about 650 boys here. 625 are attending classes in our campus from KG up to Class 10. After class 10 most of the students go back to their village. While some of them find employment, others go to college or do some other training. This is possible as the Govt. grants post-matric scholarships to poor students. Some, the more active ones and proficient in studies, stay back. At present there are 25 are post-matric students: 7 of them are doing the ITI courses, 12 are studying at the Plus Two level (classes 11-12) and 3 are doing regular college studies (Bachelor degree level). The remaining boys have completed their education and are applying for jobs. In the meantime they are helping out in the work on the fields and in the workshop, where they get practical training. 3 of them are also teaching classes in the school. All of these post-matric students take up certain responsible tasks in the running of KN.
We are a total of 20 full time staff: 14 are teachers and the others have various responsibilities in running the home. Only 7 of the staff reside on the premises and are directly involved in the running of the home.
Infrastructure and buildings.
There are 22 buildings on the campus. There are first of the buildings which surround the playground. The biggest of these is the classroom wing with 10 class rooms and two halls. Then there are the hostels facilities, residential buildings and offices. These include:
– classroom wing (22) : 10 class rooms and 2 halls
– 3 halls used as dormitories (11,15,21): the bigger one (11) is a multi-purpose hall: at night it is a sleeping place, during the day it is a classroom; on Sunday it is a prayer room and a cinema hall. It is also the place to welcome our guests.
– 3 box–rooms (2,20-upstairs,21): each boy has a small box (metal trunk) to keep a few personal belongings.
– The separate building wings along both sides of the playground provide accommodation to Staff members staying on the campus as well as accommodation to the post-matric boys. Guest rooms are also available. (3,4,18,19)
– There is a small kitchen for the staff (14) and the big kitchen for the boys (16), with special stoves to cook 300 kg of rice every day.
– Headmaster’s quarters, staffroom and computer room (1)
– Director’s quarters (20 downstairs)
– A new construction is coming up and it will serve as dining hall (13).
Away from these school and hostel buildings we have a small dispensary and hospital(5), a workshop (6), godowns (storage rooms) (7,8), two cowshed structures (9), a half-open shed for straw (10) and the bathing and toilet facilities (12).
In the last several years, due to financial constraints, no proper maintenance of the physical structures could be done. Now major repairs are required for most of the buildings. In 2012 a three year plan for the renovation of buildings was worked out and fortunately some individual donors and agencies have come forward with financial support. The renovation of the classroom wing was completed in January 2013. A few of the godowns have also been repaired.
The ongoing works are: the repair and renovation of the Dispensary building and the painting of the residential wing, consisting of teachers’ quarters, rooms for the handicapped students, library room and one guest room.
The main purpose of these renovations is to protect the buildings against decay. At the same time we want to improve the living conditions for the boys. The repairs of godowns was to ensure that there is no wastage/loss of grain (wheat &rice) and animal feed.
The major repairs of the structures to be taken in 2014 are: repairs of the kitchens and of the dormitories. At the same time major repairs work are required also for the farm. These include repairs of the cowsheds and renovation on the irrigation system.
The stay in our home is free in the sense that no fees are charged. At the time of admission there is a small fee. For the rest the guardians are requested to ensure that the children have enough clothes and other day to day requirements. In case of necessity we provide some second hand clothes.
We are heavily dependent of donations for the running of the home. We have a support group in Belgium. While many of the friends and family members of Fr. Van Bortel are getting old, a group of younger people is working for finding support for this venture. And we receive regular visitors from abroad, including students on exposure visits. They find Kishor Nagar a unique institution and they like the peaceful atmosphere prevailing in the campus.
We are aware that our support base cannot remain restricted to Belgium. We look for support from different groups of people, from India and abroad.
HOW DO WE SEE OUR WORK ?
Working at Kishor Nagar is a unique institution. There is no set pattern, nor a fixed set of rules to run such an institution. It is feeling one’s way in unexplored territory, finding a way of enabling the children from different backgrounds to live together as a family and take responsibility for their day–to-day life. Enabling them to grow up and discover their own worth as human beings. It is a work “at the frontiers” which is not without risk or dangers. There is the possibility of boys running away and going missing for some time, doing odd jobs and trying to survive on their own.We accompany them in their journey from childhood to adulthood. It is not an easy task; or rather it is not a task as such; it is rather being with them; being present among them day after day and paying attention to each child and listening to his pains and fears, joys and hopes.
It is a continuous search and it entails an intense awareness of God’s wonderful ways of protection and guidance. It is a discovery that everything works for the good. It calls us to be sensitive to the various ways in which God guides each one. It is a challenge to help each child to grow and find his way of being.
In Kishor Nagar there are about 650 boys, youth, from the margins of society find a home and a future which otherwise would be very bleak for many of them. “Give them a chance” and “help them to stand on their own feet when at the age of 16 to 20 they leave Kishor Nagar” were two basic principles of late Fr Vic Van Bortel. These remain the inner driving force of KN.