- 1935-2002 (Creation)
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Gwen Rees Roberts (1916-2002) was a Calvinistic Methodist missionary in Mizoram, India, from 1944 until 1968.
Born at Morfa Nefyn, Caernarfonshire, in 1916, she attended schools in Cricieth, Porthmadog and Pwllheli, where she developed a lifelong enthusiasm for Sunday Schools, the Brownies, and other social, educational and religious groups for children. She was drawn towards overseas missionary work whilst in her teens, and from 1935 to 1939 she studied at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, where she gained a BSc. and a Diploma in Education and Certificate in Teaching.
In 1938, the Presbyterian Church of Wales Foreign Mission Committee offered her a teaching post in Mizoram (formerly Lushai), Assam, India, dependent upon her training first at the interdenominational Carey Hall Women's Missionary Training College, Birmingham, in 1939-1940. Prevented by the war from travelling to Mizoram, she taught at Llandudno for a while and then spent four years teaching in Porthmadog. She eventually arrived in Aizawl, Mizoram, in 1944, where she became Headmistress of the Welsh Mission Girls' School, which was renamed the Presbyterian Church Girls School in 1960. Like all the missionaries in Mizoram, Gwen Rees Roberts was given a Mizo name - in her case, Pi Teii - and she learned the Mizo language, conducting some of her work through it. Whilst in Aizawl, she worked for the Mission, the Synod Standing Committee and both the British and Indian governments, her duties including teaching (in the high school, a number of colleges, the Aizawl night college, and Sunday Schools) and work with women's groups, which often entailed visiting Mizo villages; she also wrote a number of school textbooks, for example on the history and geography of Palestine, which she visited in 1963. She remained in Mizoram until 1968, when, after a rare trip home, she was prevented from returning to Mizoram by a Mizo nationalist insurrection.
Although she returned to visit Mizoram in 1974, 1985 and 1994, and never relinquished her close ties there, she lived at Bala, Meirionnydd, from 1968, working as a Liaison Officer to the Mission Board of the Presbyterian Church in Wales until her retirement in 1985. She was an active member of the Mission Board until 1999, and lived in Bala until her death in 2002. A subscription fund was set up in her memory in the town in 2002, and the proceeds divided between Capel Tegid, Coleg y Bala and the Presbyterian Church of Wales Foreign Mission Committee.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Deposited on behalf of the estate of Gwen Rees Roberts by Hywel Davies and Co.; Bala; March 2002; C2002/2, 0200203592.
Further deposit by Bala College; April 2002; C2002/2, 0200203592.
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Action: The following items have been destroyed: address books for 1984, 1994, [late 1990s] and 1999.
Authority to destroy these papers is given in Departmental Appraisal Form DJM/MJP/2008/2..
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