S.M.Cyril was born in Ireland and came to India as a young girl in 1956. She worked in Loreto Lucknow and completed studies up to Ph.D.in Zoology while running the Inter College and teaching Science.She began work with child-to-child outreach programmes in 1964 using both college and school students, going out with them each Saturday into the surrounding villages to teach, sending them each evening to slums in the city to teach children not in school.
Involved with freeing the domestic staff from professional money lenders, also, as part of the college work towards social justice. She was transferred to Calcutta in 1973 and after 6 years at Loreto House she joined Loreto Sealdah (a school of 700 well off and 90 poor children) in January 1979 and set about the experiment of opening up the school to the poorest so that now it has about 1400 students 50% of whom are from very financially deprived backgrounds.
Responsible for a number of new initiatives such as Barefoot Teacher Training, Hidden Domestic Child Labour Programme, Rainbow Educational Programme, Child-to-child Village Programme, Shikshalaya Prakalpa (working under the Sarva Siksha Abhyan to train 1400 teachers to teach 26,000 deprived children in the slums of Kolkata, in collaboration with about 60 NGOs of the city, CLPOA and KRGEDUC of which she is Convenor.
Sister Cyril is Responsible for creation of a system of Value Education, which has been introduced in many schools all over India and has developed into a new course on Human Rights Education which is being introduced in about 50 Govt. schools as well as other secondary schools in West Bengal. She is also responsible for the creation of the Rainbow Homes concept where girls from the street are welcomed into big schools which usually lies empty from 2 p.m. every afternoon to 8 a.m. the next morning. Already 4 such homes are in existence catering to 600 children and is now intent on spreading the concept.
Amongt the various other responsibilities she also is a member of the Governing Body of the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) W.B. – 1995 to present as well as Member of Advisory Committee to give expert advice on Quality of Education at Central and State level.
Winner of the UNESCO International Award, Winner of the Padma Shri for Education & Social Work of a high order in March 2007 amongst other Indian and overseas awards including Global Visionary Award 2011 – Monmouth University, New Jersey, USA, she is lovingly referred to as Sister Cyril.