One of the leading Roman Catholic Priests of Faisalabad diocese, and a staunch defender of Christian rights, Fr. Bonni Mendes, has appealed to Western Christian countries, donor organizations and “bountiful individuals” to extend their hands towards Pakistani Christian students for the construction of new schools for these impoverished students.
Fr. Mendes who heads up several Christian technical colleges and schools, said in an exclusive interview with ANS, that only 30% of Pakistani Christian students were able to attend the schools to earn education.
He added that those students, who were supposed to be in school to get education were “compelled to roam about in the streets aimlessly due to the lack of the schools as well as insufficient educational stipends.”
Fr. Bonni Mendes, who has dedicated his life to the education of Pakistani Christian children, said that most of the parents of these Christian students were “either living on or below poverty line,” hence they were unable to fulfill the educational demands or requirements of their children. Fr. Mendes added this was one of the major reasons of child labor in the country.
Replying to a question about the cost of the education of Christian students, he said that $300USD per year was the cost per student “in each and every Christian School or institute.”
The Catholic clergyman entreated “the whole world” to extend their “hands with big-hearts” because the amount that they have received at this time is “not enough to educate our Christian students.”
He recounted that the funds provided were utilized for the “provision of stationary, text-books and the salary of the teaching faculty.”
He went on say that Christian students were subsidized by the local Catholic diocese but, even then, the funds and subsidy were “not nearly enough.”
Fr. Mendes also stated that more schools and colleges, especially technical colleges, needed to be constructed “in the face of the growing Christians population in Pakistan.”
He went on to say that, due to the recent floods in Pakistan, numerous professional Christian teachers had been left unemployed, as their schools “have been swept away by the flood waters. ”
He called this a tragedy saying that, despite the fact that they hold high-level educational degrees and teachers training certificates, those who had work were underpaid and those without work were facing very difficult times.
Fr. Mendes also said that new Christian achools, colleges and, particularly technical colleges “should be renovated and up-graded.”
At the end of the interview, Fr. Mendes pleaded to international donors. either NGOs or individuals including those Western Christian countries, to help erect new Christian schools/colleges or technical colleges to “increase the chances for Christian Students to get standard education and pay good salaries to the Christian trained teachers.”
Talking about Muslim students, he replied that many of them get their education in Christian institutes and this “transforms them into moderate instead of radical Muslims.”