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In the provincial town of Chopda, about
300 miles from Mumbai(the former Bombay), a very active community
is continuing the social and educative projects started by Norwegian
missionaries in the past century. These projects consists of an
orphanage for boys, an English-language school, a "girl's home" on the
premises of the former leprosy colony and a training facility for car
The Norwegian Free Evangelical
This is the official name of the trust, which now carries the
responsibility for the work that Clara Myhre started in 1933. During a
visit to her home country of Norway, Clara got stranded for the
duration of the Second World War by the German occupation of her
country. During these years she met, and married, Leif Lerberg. When
the war was over, Clara, now accompanied by Leif and their two
children, Elon and Winnie, went back to India to continue her work.
Clara and Leif spent most of their lives (together about 120 years) in
India, in a little town called Chopda, in the northern part of
Maharashtra, close to the border of Madhya Pradesh. Their work in this
area consisted of evangelical, orphanage and medical tasks. People's
background, like cast, religion, whether poor or rich, was no reason for
not taking interest in anyone. But of course Clara's and Leif's focus
has been mainly on the less fortunate.
As far back as in 1933, Clara started a hostel for orphans, and, beside
the evangelical work, this has been her main occupation. At first, the
children were sent to school in town. Their need for education, food,
clothing and housing, and their need for love, was filled by Clara and
Leif. Since the volume of the activity grew, a staff of Indian
coworkers started giving the same love and care to the children. Today
there are about 140 children in the boarding.
Due to all these activities, Clara, Leif and their coworkers gained
much respect and goodwill form the people in the town of Chopda, and in
the surrounding villages. As a result of this, people started asking
a kindergarten that would make their children familiar with the English
In a country with so many different languages (let alone all the
dialects), where there are 250 different ways of saying "I am thirsty"
(after all it is a hot country!), English is one of the two official
languages (the other one being Hindi.
The result after one year was
overwhelming and the parents said, "You just have to go on for a second
year in the kindergarten!" So they did, and the "Mimosa Kindergarten"
was established. Mimosa was Clara's favorite flower(a new group of
children had already started their first year).
After the second year in kindergarten, the parents said, "You just have
to go on with a primary school in English"! To make it short, today
"Clara Memorial English Medium School" offers education up to the 10th
standard. The number of students increased, the results of the
student's exams turned out to be some of the best in the District. This
was a good reason to choose "Mimosa Kindergarten" and "Clara Memorial
English Medium School" as the best basis for college (and further)
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