Notre Dame global missions is a ministry of the Sisters of Notre Dame of the United States. Our efforts began in 1949 with a mission in Jamalpur, India, and have grown to include missions in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, East Africa, and Papua New Guinea. Notre Dame’s global missions works to address challenges and to improve the lives of those living in extreme poverty. Notre Dame missionaries are supported through prayer, service, and financial assistance from friends, donors, and the Sisters of Notre Dame.
People living in India and Africa face different challenges than those of us in the United States. Here are some examples, based on 2011 census statistics:
- Officially, 37% of India’s 1.34 billion people live below the poverty line, but estimates suggest the figure could be as high as 77%.
- The average life span in Tanzania, Africa, is only 52 years of age, and the infant mortality rate is almost 7%. Almost 150,000 Tanzanian children die before their fifth birthday.
- In Papua New Guinea, almost one-third of women and one-quarter of men, age 6 and older have never attended school.
Our first mission in Jamalpur, in the state of Bihar, India has been operating for more than 60 years and has grown into two established SND provinces with almost 300 Indian Sisters in active mission work throughout the country. Sisters’ work includes all forms of education, healthcare, social work, faith-formation, and spirituality. They place special emphasis on the empowerment of women and girls.
In 1992, three native Indian Sisters of Notre Dame arrived in Arusha, Tanzania, and established schools and social service ministries to address the many educational and healthcare needs of the African people. Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world, so sisters responded by establishing women’s empowerment centers, homes to care for orphans, healthcare centers, and schools. There are almost two million orphans in Tanzania alone, many infected with HIV.
In 1995, Sisters of Notre Dame from our Covington, KY and Thousand Oaks, CA regions established the St. Julie Mission in rural Uganda, East Africa, and have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of education.
Sisters saw entire families impacted by their children’s education at St. Julie Primary School. When Notre Dame Academy was built and offered 0-Level courses, we saw young women realize their life opportunities had multiplied and that their academic and career goals were finally attainable.
As the mission has grown, so too have our students. They have found success as nurses, accountants, teachers, and government employees. In just over two decades, St. Julie Mission has grown from a small plot in the isolated bush area of Uganda to a primary boarding school, a free-standing nursery school, a formation center, a farm, and a top-ranked, all-girls secondary boarding school.
In Papua New Guinea, the Sisters of Notre Dame have been leaders in education since their arrival in 1961. The sisters established Notre Dame Secondary School which educates 700 girls each year in grades 9-12. More than 7,000 young women have gone through the Notre Dame Secondary School since its opening in 1969. The Sisters are empowering these young women through their work and are also instrumental in developing Christian leadership in the local parishes of PNG. Most of the Papua New Guineans who are professed Sisters have become trained teachers.
For more information about the Sisters of Notre Dame, please visit their website at sndusa.org.
To support the SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME, please click on the button below to donate and either select your parish in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and/or type Group 1738 in the memo box. God bless!