On October 21, over a hundred children, teachers, and parents gathered to celebrate the devoted founding teachers of the Friendship School in Kharang, Northeast India. Kong Rophimai Kharbithai and kong Throida Shylla retired from lead teacher roles after 15 years of sustaining the growth and development of the English medium primary school they conceived in 2007. We have partnered with the sponsoring Kharang Unitarian Church ever since. Rev. Darihun Khriam, Minister to the Kharang church, unveiled a large portrait of the school and its founders commissioned by the East Shore Partner Church Ministry team. There was lots of dining, dancing, and singing – more than just a ceremony, our partners held a party! Friendship School classes are to resume in February, after the worst of the rainstorms and winter cold, with two newly appointed teachers joining the five continuing faculty.
Khlanhiwot Lamare, a beekeeper, entrepreneur, and longtime mentor of Khasi Unitarian youth, is the new President of the Friendship School Managing Committee. Bah Khlan reports they’ve established a new source of supplementary income to supplement contributions from East Shore members. They are asking Kharang Unitarians to donate two kilograms of rice per family monthly, with proceeds from the sale to be split equally between the Friendship School and other needs of the Kharang Unitarian church. They have also obtained some additional land from the Village Committee, and Bah Khlan has financed recent improvements to the school compound.
In his most recent WhatsApp messages to us, bah Khlan wrote “We are blessed to have you as our overseas family….I need you all, your encouragement, help, and support…. Please be by my side”. Among all the things we’ve gained through our years of friendship with the Khasi Unitarians, the appreciation, loving welcome, and joy they share as they host us in their homes or we exchange news and photos on WhatsApp is truly exceptional. May it inspire us to do the same!