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picture of boarding building
The Orphanage

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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 mechanics.

The Norwegian Free Evangelical Mission, Chopda, India.

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.

The Children

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 for a kindergarten that would make their children familiar with the English language.
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) education.

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