Sister Barbara with a student in Bandipur, Nepal.

Sister Barbara with a student in Bandipur, Nepal.

by Trudy Hamilton

Founded 32 years ago, Notre Dame School in Bandipur, Nepal began with 50 students in a goat shed. Today, the school has 820 students. The school’s success is partially based upon the emphasis on inclusion; almost half of the students are female. Many students have gone on to graduate from universities around the world. In recent years, students from more prosperous families outside the village have joined us in classes 11 and 12 to prepare for college.

Sister Barbara Soete has taught in Nepal since 2006. She chose to minister in the small, remote village of Bandipur after hearing stories from her sibling, Sister Andre Maureen Soete, who served in Japan for many years and had spent a year in Nepal. “It was a place of great need,” said Sister Barbara.

Sisters share their faith if asked, but their faith is primarily expressed by the way they live; education is their top priority.

“We take poor children who would have no choice but to accept work as manual laborers in a limited environment and we give them access to higher learning across Nepal and the world,” said Sister Barbara. “That’s amazing.”

Photo Credit: Ken Buslay, Germany