Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | January 4, 2012

New Hope for Monguli

Kolkata, India

Monguli with Kingsland volunteer Kaytlin Smith.

There is absolutely nothing boring about Kolkata. This city is a sensory smorgasbord. Whether you look to the right or to the left, it’s impossible to escape the sights, sounds, and smells of Kolkata — all mixing and wafting out of a cauldron of ceaseless human activity. And when you take a moment to scratch beneath the surface you’ll find that there is nothing boring about the people. All you have to do is squeeze them gently with a question or two and their personal stories begin to seep to the surface, providing context and clues to their existence, frustrations, hopes, and aspirations. Today, I met a twelve year-old girl, just a face in the crowd of young students attending the only school in the slum of Udayan Pally, a school founded by my friend Pastor Rudra. Her name is Monguli, the oldest daughter of a Bengali cobbler and a maid trying to support their three children on the edge of existence in a hovel crammed among thousands along a foul-smelling canal.

Monguli’s family survives on the equivalent of less than two US dollars a day. Struggling to make ends meet, Monguli’s mother withdrew her from Pastor Rudra’s New Hope School last May and sent her to work as a live-in maid for a family of means. It was a tough choice but the family needed the extra forty-cents a day that Monguli earned by cleaning floors and toilets and dishes and silverware and clothes. At every opportunity, Monguli begged her mother to allow her to return to their home and to school. Pastor Rudra’s wife, Mita, repeatedly begged and reasoned with Monguli’s mother, trying to get her to understand the value of a good education for her daughter. Finally, in October of last year, Monguli’s mother admitted that she had made a mistake by taking her daughter out of school and forcing her to work as a maid. Monguli returned to New Hope School where she continues to excel in her studies. She is a beautiful little girl who truly has new hope.

The slum village of Udayan Pally is crowded with poor Bengali Hindus for whom hope is something elusive and out of reach. The concept of “the future” doesn’t exist here — only surviving today. But, Pastor Rudra wants to change that by educating the children of these refugees and squatters who have staked out a tenuous claim on life on the outskirts of Kolkata. Having visited and served at this school over the past couple of years, I can see remarkable progress in the education of the children who attend. Our ladies team is serving at New Hope School this week. Already they are impressed by Pastor Rudra’s huge vision and even bigger heart for the welfare of a village that is not even on the newest maps of Kolkata and its environs. But what is quietly happening at this little school with more than one-hundred students is indeed bringing new hope to many families. Perhaps one day in the future somebody else will ask Monguli to share her story. I know that it will be a more beautiful narrative because of the work of one man and his wife who did not forget about her when her mother sent her to work as a maid.


  1. Praise the Lord for Pastor Rudra for setting up a school for poor folk. If things are ever to change for slum dwellers it will be by education (& the Lord of course). We pray Monguli will excel at school.
    Our friend Dev Sarkar runs a school in South Kolkata for poor kids (about 60).
    We rejoice in hearing about lifes transformed.

    God Bless

    Paul & Sarah Beniston

    • Amen. It’s so good to see the kids in the school learning to read and write and, best of all, learning the story of Jesus and His love.

  2. Please greet Pastor Rudra for me. He and his team are doing a great work. I pray for them and need to pray more often. They are doing a great work in that village and I pray that more people are coming to know Jesus as their Lord an Savior by the work they are doing. They are not only making a difference on the students life’s on earth but on the villages eternal life’s.

    • Will do, Herschel. Pastor Rudra and his team are indeed doing a great job of taking the story of Jesus to folks who live in a tough place.

  3. Thank you Pastor Omar for not only leading Kingsland’s powerful missions ministry, but for documenting it so well! You, Pastor Rudra and Mita are great role models for the rest of us.

    So, in theory, for only forty cents a day one of these beautiful children could be set free from servitude to learn about Jesus. I’m just saying…

    • Thanks, Ken. Good word. When you think about it, we could liberate so many with just the change most of us toss around without a thought.

  4. Bless you and Pastor and his wife for the work you do to bring Jesus to these people. You are in our prayers.

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