Sharon A. Cunningham, LCC ’68, Manager of Kulpahar Christian School in Kulpahar, India
Kulpahar Kids’ Home & Christian School is the oldest mission of our brotherhood still in operation. Our parent name is The Kulpahar Church of Christ Mission. Dolly Chitwood and Leah Moshier went to India in 1946. The first “orphan baby” was brought to them in 1947, and Kulpahar Kids’ Home began! We stopped taking orphan children in 1989 due to challenges with the government requiring orphanages to be licensed.
Dolly started the school in 1948. I went to India in 1993 and in 2001 was appointed manager of the Christian School. Our school enrollment last year was 394, with classes K through 12. We are affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education. This Government Board is one of the most respected Boards in India, and it is actually an International Board as well. All schools are required to have government testing at the 10th and 12th grade levels and we are very proud of our scholastic record. For the last four to five years, 100% of our 10th and 12th grade students have passed! We are in a very poor, rural village area, with the majority of our students being Hindu. We also have around 11% Muslim students. Our Christian students are in the middle percentage. Two years ago, after a lot of government paperwork, we were recognized at the National Government level as a Minority School. This protects us in many ways so we can keep our Christian teaching and influence.
My main job is being the liaison between the Society (Indian Board of Trustees) and the school. Other areas of responsibilities are figuring the salaries, making sure we are following all rules in the government retirement scheme, making sure all of the physical aspects of the school meet the government standards, as well as the high standard we as Christians want to adhere to for cleanliness, and giving the best education possible to all of our students. We are a charity institution so around 26% of our student body pays part or no school fees. We have around 91 students from very poor Christian families. They are sponsored by churches and individuals in the U.S. One of my fun responsibilities is planning and choreographing our March Pass in December. We have around 175-200 students with sticks, pom-poms, flags, and batons marching and moving into different positions around the field to open and close our Sports Days!
I hope to return to Kulpahar at the end of May, but while in the U.S. my phone number is 602-574-8956. You may also contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.