De La Salle brothers

Congregation of



Congregation of




              In 1968 this farm of then 7 acres was handed over to the De La Salle Brothers by the Sarvodya Ashram organization of Dom Bede Griffiths on condition that the Brothers ran it as a home for boys and a model farm for the surrounding villages to imitate. Dom Bede Griffiths OSB had intended to have an ashram but the ashram group comprising himself, Rev. R. Keithan and Mr. R. Stoole chose to hand it to the others represented at the time by Brothers Ealred and James together with a bank account in Kodaikanal and the remains of a grant from MISEREOR of W. Germany. 


            Over the years up to the present the farm has been extended to 25 acres. All this land belongs in entirety to the De La Salle Brothers. It had been at one time claimed by Boys’ Town Trust as their possession because the Brothers at the time of acquiring the property were not registered as a society and operated under it. The extended property however, was bought entirely by the De La Salle Brothers and the ownership recorded with the official records of the government. Some land was bought through the only available society at the beginning i.e. the Archdiocese but paid for entirely with Institute money. There were three wells dug on the property one of which was good and the others only so in the monsoon.


            Previous to 1971 most of the work was attended to by Brother Thomas Hammerton who lived here in very tough conditions with a small group of boys. They worked the farm and produced some crops and kept a few animals. Periodically Bro. Thomas would go to Boys’ Town to receive top-up funds and materials to improve the sparse accommodation at Batlagundu farm as it was then an extension of Boys’ Town Nagamalai. His infrequent visits raised eye-brows among the community members at Boys’ Town when he rolled in with flowing beard, sun-scorched, wearing shorts and complete with bush ranger’s hat & tassels on horse-back. There were some complaints that religious exercises were being neglected at that time. To say that the place was an isolated spot back then was without exaggeration.

From 1971 onwards its care came under the administration of Boys’ Town and it was from this date that the final development and expansion work began.


            On 1st May 1974, Brother James Kimpton moved to the Village on a permanent basis and the first group of junior boys arrived – 25 in number. Over the next twelve months the numbers increased to 35 juniors and 10 seniors. Initially Bro. James had envisaged setting up a boys’ home at Batlagundu farm similar to the Boys’ Town accommodation at Nagamalai, Madurai but on a very much reduced scale. He had outlined his ideas on the project in a paper he produced in Oct. 1973. He brought some senior boys to Batlagundu to work on the farm.  They were also called working boys because they earned a wage for their farm work. But after settling down at the new premises he quickly changed his ideas about the kind of boys that would be taken care of at Batlagundu. In a paper he produced in 1974 just after taking up residence:

“I am here putting down my plans for this new project which is intended for destitute boys below the age of 14 and above 10. These are plans that have matured over the last three years and are the fruit of handling Nagamalai (Boys’ Town) as administrator and of three years’ work at the Boys’ Village before it finally became a home for a group of boys. Let it first be emphasised that there is nothing merely taken on chance, nor is it a sudden, belated idea due to the necessity for me to leave Boys’ Town”.

This change of plan was the cause for much discussion among the Brothers as to the shape and direction of the newly established Boys’ Village Batlagundu as evidenced from the Regional Council Minutes of 23rd June, 1974 here quoted:

“A lengthy discussion took place about the Batlagundu Farm. Brother James at first claimed that it was now an independent unit to be administered by him. Later it was agreed that it was to be a dependent department of Boys’ Town. Brother Calixtus said that at the new Board of Trust meeting it was agreed that it be developed for income for the houses of formation, and wanted the Spanish moneys already received and allowed by Brother Assistant, be spent on the vineyard as decided. Brother James disagreed. He said that it would give rise to quarrels. He said that he had examined and reported to the Superiors on very suitable wet land near the Batlagundu farm which could be purchased for one lakh or Rs 80,000 for the houses of formation and Spanish moneys and those yet to come should be spent on this project and he was prepared to buy the land and work it…Brother James said that at present the Batlagundu Farm has attained self-sufficiency. He submitted a comprehensive plan regarding its future development as a Boys’ Village”.    


The Plans- Bro. James went into detail about the nature of the work that he intended to undertake at this newly established project for which the Indian Region of the Brothers was still trying to digest:


“AIM OF THE VILLAGE: This place will be as simple as possible in a rural sort of way, but above all in a way that will not create expense with which it cannot cope. Nothing will (or should in the future) be allowed that gives any semblance of affluence or superiority out of context with the area or with the type of people we are working with. We should not have the staff as the primary consideration when providing facilities and more than anything else we must avoid making this place project-centered instead of people-centered. After ten years at Boys’ Town I am now aware of the causes of financial problems and how to avoid them. The growth here at the Village must be a natural one, no matter how tempting the offers of assistance for a sudden and unnecessary growth. We must grow as the needs arise, as we have our own finance to manage the growth afterwards and as we have the men to work here who know what they are doing and are in sympathy with work among the lowest and the simplest.

 The Village must ever be open to the inhabitants of the area. Never must we allow a ghetto attitude to be adopted in which we unknowingly tell others that we consider ourselves superior to them or that they are not wanted.

 As has been said:- the project must be boy-centered and he must receive first consideration. Our care for any child accepted here must be total: physically, emotionally, spiritually, academically. This precludes overcrowding and make-do with staff- lack of facilities is far less important than lack of love, a sense of security. As for the project itself the child must be able to grow naturally as he would in a good family.

The boys will go out to the village schools so that they mix as much as possible with their peers. They will be encouraged to bring home with them their friends from school. They will be allowed to join in all the usual village happenings as far as possible and the openness already mentioned will be thus be an outwards one as well as an inwards one. At other times than school hours the boys will be expected to contribute according to their individual abilities to the welfare of the Village but there will be no undue constraint that will give any semblance of child labour.

  I do believe that we can make a model children’s home here which it is hoped will have as much influence as Boys’ Town on the present unsatisfactory child-care institutions and methods. In fact, because of its simplicity and ease of running it may have more influence.




  1. To continue to develop the farm to its fullest potential as an estimated sufficient income to cater for the inhabitants of the Village.
  2. To settle in the new group of 20 boys – 9 from Boys’ Town and the others from the area, we will have to put up a few simple buildings as will be listed later and buy equipment as we are starting literally from nothing.
  3. To have a simple dispensary, namely for the use of the boys, with a sick room that can be used as a guest room, but also for the village poor who wish to receive attention, as done at Nagamalai.




These are all basic needs and finance has been asked from various sources.          

1 To raise an existing water tower from 8’ to 16’ and increase its capacity. Rs 7,400 has been asked from IGSSS

2 *A drinking water bore-well and hand pump will cost $150. This has been promised by our Brothers of Neuchatel, Switzerland.

3 *Dispensary building and equipment – Rs 3,000 to be financed by MEMISA.

4 Household and boys’ garden needs Rs 1,300 – Spencers asked for this.

5 Cloth for trousers and shirts, two sets each boy. Madura Mills were asked to donate.

6 Household needs- Messrs. Fenner and Cockill were asked for a donation.

7 200 lorry loads of top soil; to clear well waste from two wells; to fill an old well; to complete irrigation from a new well; a poultry house, birds and feed for one year, Rs 19,000 asked from Entraide et Fraternite.

8 A small country dairy, ten cows. To convert an old building that is good into living quarters for staff, workshop, store rooms. We asked War On Want for £1,750.

9 Running expenses for 6 months – £1,000 we asked CAFOD.

10 A motorcycle. Mine is giving constant trouble and all travel has been done by bus which is considerably restricting and time consuming. GORTA were asked for £400.

11 A small Indian style chapel to have the Blessed Sacrament reserved. I asked Brother Lawrence O’ Toole to find me £250.

 (* money given)


           Very little so far has been received or promised though it is still too early to know whether the finance will be available from those asked. We will continue to beg until we have what is required.              

Further to what has been definitely asked I think we ought to have the following:


1 A hobby and workroom where the boys can go and mess around with tools, and keep themselves usefully amused. This would need a building and the equipment.

2 I would like to build another two cottages. These are very simple buildings with two rooms and a store room in each. Each room is for four boys. There is a verandah as in most Indian houses where the boys sleep.  

3 Four small country houses for workers. These cost Rs 1,000 each and are quite adequate for all they need.

4 I want to reclaim one acre of land not used now. I plan an orchard there, but it would require steel piping to pump water up the slope from the well. We would also have to dig the holes, fill them with good earth, buy saplings, and maintain the growth for two years. This would need Rs 10.000. It is a large sum for which I hesitate to ask.

The economics of it all:

It is only possible to give what are estimates and which are dependent on many eventualities.  Farming is always a risk: for example; grapes can sell at Rs 4 a kilo but can also in one week drop to Rs 1 and groundnuts which have always been an excellent cash crop are at present unsellable because of some government policy about oil mills. It is also known that the cost of living is sky-rocketing. However here is what we have worked out to the best of our means



            12 acres under constant crops all year round

             2 acres under mango saplings less than one year old

             2 acres under coconuts also very young

             5 acres of vineyards of which 3 are bearing

             7 acres are seasonal and depend on rains

             1 acre has been set aside for dairy, sheep house and poultry yard

             2 acres are occupied by buildings

There are three wells all good with large hills of waste around them that must someday be moved to put the arable land under crops.

We estimate that from the grapes we should get an income of at least Rs 50,000/- per year and from the other crops Rs 20,000/- per year. This is hopefully based on a minimum. Thereafter from the land alone we should get an average of say Rs 6,000/- per month. To this must be added the income from the flock of sheep (100 in number is asked for) and the dairy.


Cost of Living:

Staple grains, vegetables, spices, etc. per week ….Rs 550/- Rs 2,200

Wages                        per month                              ….                   Rs 1,000

Electricity                   per month                              ….                   Rs    200

Maintenance             per month                              ….                   Rs    500

Crop maintenance   per month                              ….                   Rs 1,000

General expenses   per month                              ….                   Rs    500

                                                                        Total per month        Rs 5,400

                        I have left out capital expenses

            Thus it is seen that the total income per month

            From the farm will be Rs 6,000 per month                      Rs 6,000

            Expenses for twenty boys and staff          ….                   Rs 6,000

Put this way it is evident that we will be financially viable once I have the few extra items that I am asking for. If we add sponsorship for 20 boys at Rs 80/- each then we will also have Rs 1,600 more. This should be enough to cover all eventualities. It will of course all need a lot of hard work and a maintained effort at control and a constant awareness of the economics of the place. It will require someone to keep a finger on the pulse of the Village – not – may I say – as it was before when a Brother came out here for one half hour every six months;

I am asking that I may be the Brother for at least two years and even longer if this is deemed wise. I have plans for the future”.


Brother James Kimpton further outlined his plans for the development of Boys’ Village on 6th October 1973 with the following report that reads very like a “charter” for the project;


“Land was originally given by Dom Bede Griffiths OSB in 1968 to develop as a model farm to be of service to the local farmers. It is situated on the main road to Periyakulam about three miles to the west of Batlagundu. The area is very beautiful and the Palni/ Kodaikanal Mountains border it on the west and north sides. Forty miles away and 6000ft above sea level is the holiday resort of Kodaikanal.

We have held land at Genguvarpatti for the past eight years and have developed it over that period.

Now: There are 30 acres of good farm land with adequate water to allow intensive wet and dry farming with the help of GORTA and ENTRAIDE ET FRATERNITE we have planted 3 acres of vineyards which have proved very successful and they are bringing in enough income to support the present small group of boys and staff. All the grains for the staple diet can be grown here and most of the vegetables needed by the present and future residents. A considerable acreage of land has been reclaimed and all of it is now under cultivation. The farm is self-sufficient.


The farm is situated in an entirely farming district among villages which are very old. It is an excellent centre for marketing all that can be produced at the farm. It is on a trunk road with first class bus and lorry services. The nearby town BATALGUNDU, which is three miles away, has a hospital financed by MISEREOR and all commodities for farming community and for light industries are available. Nearby is a newly started complex for canning fruits and vegetables, making fruit juices and pickles. MADURAI city is thirty miles away. There are good high schools nearby. The area is electrified and there are a group of reservoirs receiving water from the nearby hills.


We have been now 8 years in the area, we are well known and accepted. However, our influence does not extend beyond the realm of encouraging better farming methods and introducing a few new crops. We should be taking boys from this area and also we should be reaching out to the local villages and hamlets in an attempt to improve the economics, the living conditions, the agriculture, etc. The present setup can with a few additions, be more completely integrated into the area and be a more powerful source of improving the total living conditions of the villagers around.


PLANNED: To start a “Boys Village”. This will be based on the Boys’ Town system but will retain an essentially rural atmosphere in every sense. The living quarters will bear a resemblance to that of the Indian Village and will assiduously avoid any semblance of affluence, superiority, or being closed on itself. The government of the village will be based on the Panchayat system. The aspirations of the project will also be rural and will constantly keep in mind the needs of the villages and of farmers i.e. a group freely elected by the residents to make joint decisions, settle disputes, decide policies, etc. The facilities described later will be available to the farmers around on a day basis. The permanent residential amenities will be for destitute boys of 14 years and older.


  1. Agriculture: By means of using the best farming methods, the best available seeds, fertilizer, insecticides, etc. we will attempt to run a model farm. This “Boys Village” will be the means by which improvements in the national and even international farming will be passed on the farms around. It is well known that the Indian farmer waits to see others succeed before he decides to make improvements. New crops, new fruit trees, better vegetables will be introduced. Irrigation will receive constant attention in order to use all available water sources in the best way. Research will be done to improve on such things as rice yields etc. The future of the boys will be kept in mind knowing that they will be the ones who will later carry these improvements back to their areas with them, and also to instill in them a sense of service and leadership.
  2. Animal Husbandry: It is proposed to maintain a small but very good heard of cows with one stud bull for the use of the villagers. We also plan a first grade poultry farm (though again built to suit the villagers). There is at present no poultry farm in the area. We also want to introduce high grade milch goats with a stud billy also for use by the villagers, and a herd of sheep. There is abundant grazing for the latter two animals.
  3. Demonstration classes: for young farmers based on items 1 & 2.
  4. Basic Trades: suitable for a farming community. These will embrace welding, turning fitting, pump maintenance, tractor maintenance, electrical fitting, plumbing. They will be of an essentially basic nature but will be more than adequate for all the needs of a farmer. These classes will be available to the villagers who are interested as well as to the boys in residence. There is no intention of organizing a trade school out of keeping with the area but a set of workshops suitable to farmers who will then not hesitate to use them. We are not thinking of advanced courses but of being of service to the local rural community. We can easily draw staff from our boys trained at Nagamalai, Boys’ Town, Madurai. Such mechanical skills are not easily available in the region.
  5. Academic: i. High Schools are available for boys who are adjudged suitable to continue towards higher studies. These are in the villages and serve the villages and will therefore retain a rural approach to life.                                                                 ii. Adult classes will eventually be organized which will include reading writing, arithmetic and will be conducted at a time suitable to the people in the area.
  6. Medical: A small dispensary/Clinic will be equipped to deal with the needs of our own boys and staff, but will also open at certain limited hours for the needs of the people around. It will also be available in case of emergencies. This will be much like the one at Nagamalai Boys’ Town where such services are also available.
  7. Living Quarters: At present under construction is a small residence for a Brother. It is built on the lines of a village house, is very simple, unpretentious but adequate.


A residence for the manager and his family is also under construction similar to the above.  

Village cottages are already planned for the boys – 4 or 5 boys to a cottage – centered around a water tap and a garden. Cottages will be built as the need is felt and as the project is able to maintain them. The whole project must remain independent of outside help for its running expenses. It is also essential not to lift the boys out of their environment so that they find it difficult to acclimatize to their villages when they return after training.


Needed. The immediate need is to ensure self-sufficiency and to complete the farming programme. The Trade School can come at a later date, although it must be kept in mind now.


  • Two more acres of vineyard: An area of grapes will bring in a minimum of Rs 10,000/- annually. Of this about Rs 8,000/- will be clear profit. Two more acres together with the other three will give enough returns to support a group of up to 20 boys as well as to enable us to maintain the other outreaching projects.


Total finance required for 2 acres Rs 10,000.00 or £550.00.


               Brother James then wrote a short account of the beginning years at Boys’ Village which is here below quoted in full regarding the construction of the statue in honour of Our Lady that he built at the far end of the Village property. Previous to the erection of this statue passing motorists particularly lorry drivers considered the area as an unholy place and they feared passing the spot. Bro. James described in detail about the place as follows;




          When we first came to Boys’ Village in May 1974 to start a home for poor boys, we

met with so much opposition from outside forces that it soon became evident to us that there was some kind of infernal interference. It was as if the powers of evil did not want our presence here, fearing, I suspect, the influence that this institution was bound to have on the area especially when Christ Himself came to dwell with us here in our chapel.


There was also one spot, right at the end of the property, which was notorious in the district for its connection with evil and the results, so they said, of the presence of some satanic influence. Thus there had been murders and suicides and terrible accidents on the road, all connected with this one spot.


So we decided that we would build a shrine to Our Lady there should the opposition end. The shrine, a small one to start with, was built. The opposition vanished into thin air and never was there another accident or any other kind of violence around that bit of land. The lorry drivers on their long hauls, often stop there to light incense sticks, candles and offer garlands of flowers. We ourselves on the bigger feasts of Mary made processions to and from this shrine and it did receive our constant caring.


We were all dismayed one morning to find the shrine broken into and the statue of Mary with her small child gone. A search was made and eventually the statue was found on the side of the mountain opposite. One hand we never did find nor did we ever discover who desecrated the shrine or why. Not in our human way at least.


We repaired the statue, had a special ceremony of reparation and a Mass was offered to tell Our Lady we were sorry for what had been done. The shrine was redecorated and once again used by passing lorry drivers to ask for Mary’s protection on their long journeys.


Then Our Lady seemed to show her special attention and presence at Boys’ Village. We employed a large number of people from the villages, among them women and girls. One day as a group of these were resting during a break and as usual jabbering away with all the village gossip, they noticed one young girl sitting quietly alone, apart from the others and then when they asked this usually exuberant child why she was so quiet today, she began to speak as if she were Our Lady herself, using the first person throughout the following but very touching revelation. You may believe it or not, but I cannot see any reason to doubt that what the girl said was wholly unprovoked by others nor rehearsed nor made up. She spoke in Tamil, very simply and without any vestige of hysteria or excitement:


“Four men took me away from the shrine and hid me on the mountainside. They smashed one of the arms of Jesus into powder and scattered it over the fields. I have not punished these men yet, but if they do not repent will eventually do so. The people of Boys’ Village mended the statue and put me back into the shrine and made reparation. But is not sufficient. I wish more attention paid to this shrine and more visits made. My son has given many graces to this place (Boys’ Village) and I wish the people here to thank my Son in a better way for so many graces and blessings. I will not go away. I will stay here with them.”


The other women then asked the girl: “What right have you to be speaking in this way, you are a Hindu and who worship Muttalaman?” To which the girl replied, again speaking as if she were the medium through which Mary was speaking:

  “Here at Boys’ Village, they are all grown people and I do not find the right kind of person to communicate through. This person is a virgin girl and I usually choose such to speak through.”


When one is on the receiving end of such communications which are so manifestly other-worldly, one cannot but be profoundly affected and deeply touched. My immediate concern was and still is: what did Our Lady want from us here? What was she asking? We are ready to do whatever she wished, as I am sure any good Christian in contact so closely with Mary would also desire.


We chose the next nearest feast to hold a day of special reparation and love for Mary. That happened on 11th February 1982, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. We met for three evenings at the shrine and prayed the rosary there, knowing that this was Our Lady’s favourite prayer by far. We then processed back, right through the property saying the rosary as we went and singing hymns to Mary. On the day itself we decorated the shrine after completely redecorating it and put lights there and many garlands of flowers. We called for Father Masilamani, SJ from Beschi College to join us for the evening ceremony so that he could in his beautiful fluent way, explain what we were doing and why. We then had Mass in the chapel in reparation and thanksgiving and to ask Our dear Mother to always care for us in a special way. Everyone from the projects was there, including the Hindus and all the staff. We did the best we could to tell Our Lady of our greatest love and confidence in her”.

                                                                                                Brother James Kimpton  


             In October 1974 Bro. James attended a SKIP conference in Bangalore and the report that SKIP produced on the developments that were taking place at the newly established Boys’ Village, Batlagundu, gave a vivid account of the progress that had been made in that rural area in such a short period of time. The SKIP report is reproduced here in full as it described clearly what was happening and what had been achieved since May 1974:


 “SKIP REPORT (Pestalozzi)                                             72 Brigade Road

                                                                                                Bangalore 560025

October 5th 1974

Report on St Joseph’s Boys Village

Genguvarpatty, Periyakulam Taluk S. India


Bro. Kimpton had been earlier in charge of Nagamalai Boys’ Town, Madurai, about 12 km. from the city, from 1964 to the beginning of this year that is for 10 years. The Nagamalai Boys’ Town is a home for 200 orphan and destitute boys from the age of 14 upwards. They are given training in (1) carpentry, (2) Turning, Welding and Fitting trades combined, (3) Farming and (4) Animal Husbandry. During this period they are also given an academic education to bring them into the Indian Middle School level of 8th Standard, although the school is not a recognised school. After their period of training in the home, some of the boys are employed in the farm and in the workshops attached to the Technical Training School, and the others find jobs outside and settle themselves in life.


Bro. Kimpton’s experiences in the Boys’ Town at Nagamalai, has made him experiment on a completely rural oriented home for destitute and orphan boys. He has therefore now set up a home, known as St Joseph’s Boys’ Village, at a village of Genguvarpatti, in Periyakulam Taluk, about 40 miles from Madurai. 30 acres of fairly good land had been in the possession of the Nagamalai Boys’ Town for the past 8 years, but there has not been any serious effort at developing this land till Bro. Kimpton moved to this place early this year and started with about a dozen boys. He now has 25 boys and has already started developing farming. He has planted vineyards, part of which has already yielded, giving him a good return on the investment. He has also planted a Mango Orchard and Coconut Saplings; Cultivation of rice, pulses and tomatoes with three open wells having a plentiful ‘supply of water’ is also carried out, pumping the water for irrigating the farm. In his farming methods, he is making use of the advice from the Government Agricultural Research Centre in the neighbourhood, as also a small scale Fruit Canning Centre available about a mile away. He has a few cows and a herd of goats, which is a profitable investment apart from supplying manure to these vineyards. He has plans to start a regular Poultry Farm. The boys grow vegetables for their needs, and keep a few chickens.


The inmates of the Boys’ Village, numbering about 40 including the families of the staff members, live as one family. They have a common kitchen and have their meals together. Thus the environment: of a Boys’ Home is maintained.


The objectives of Bro. Kimpton on this experiment of the Boys’ Village are mainly three-fold: to train the boys in (1) Agricultural Farming, (2) Animal Husbandry, and (3) Rural Industries. He has already started on the first two, and he intends to start training in rural industries, by setting up a workshop to meet the needs of the village at the farmer’s level, to embrace simple turning, fitting and welding for simple fabrication jobs and repair jobs, and for making of small replacement parts for tractor and pump set maintenance and also carpentry required for small village-type building construction, making of agricultural implements such as ploughs and bullock carts etc. This would also be helpful to the villagers for training their young boys as well as to provide a workshop where the villagers can come for their maintenance needs. The Agricultural Farm and Animal Husbandry and Poultry would provide the neighbouring village farmers as a demonstration centre, using improved techniques of farming and animal husbandry, based on the techniques available through the Block Development and Agricultural Research Centres in the District. To this extent he is working in close cooperation with these Government organizations.


For this Boys’ Village he takes boys from 10 years upwards to 14 years, after which he plans to send the boys to the Nagamalai Boys’ Town for the type of technical training given there. During this period, the boys are sent to the village schools nearby and also made to work in the farm during their free time. Such of those boys who show talents for higher education would be sent to the High Schools available in the village or near-abouts.


The boys are being trained to manage their own affairs and to be self-disciplined, by a system of “Panchayat” (village self-government) of their own. The boys select their own President and Committees for their work assignment, lay down their own rules for discipline, settle disputes and formulate policies. This is in line with the ‘Panchayati System’ which normally exists for village self-government administration. All the boys will be required to do some farming and other duties in the village in addition to their regular schooling and technical training.


Bro. Kimpton’s main purpose is to work on a modest and cheap way of looking after destitute and orphan boys in a rural setting, at the same time preparing them to settle in rural areas. He is already in touch with Government to acquire land along the slope of a hill across the main road in front of his Boys’ Village, for further expansion of the Boys’ Village where he can settle some of them permanently, as the second phase of development of the Boys’ Village.


He has built small huts for staff members and boys, based on the existing village pattern but on a more hygienic and cleaner style. Each cottage built on the already existing pattern of houses of the village, cost him only about Rs 500 to Rs 600 each. Bro. Kimpton has also established a small clinic as a welfare measure, for the villagers in the vicinity as well as for the use of the inmates of the Boys’ Home.


As pointed out earlier in his report, Bro. Kimpton is working out his scheme, one activity at a time according to the availability of resources both financial and personnel, and observing the results of each activity and basing his next step on the experience gained. This is a commendable way of proceeding on a new venture instead of investing large amounts and executing the plan all at once. Towards each activity of his, he has been receiving assistance from various sources as stated in the application. His personnel consists of a Farm Manager who is an old boy of the Nagamalai Boys’ Town, assisted by another old boy also of Nagamalai. A local farmer with expertise in vineyard cultivation is his third staff member.  He engages village labourers as required for farming operations.


Bro. Kimpton’s initial plan can now be said to be completed with finishing touches to be given, like buying some compost manure and silt to enrich part of the farm land, removing excavated solid dug up for wells, filling up a disused well and purchasing some piping to extend irrigation facilities and poultry shed. The total cost of all these items is estimated to be about Rs 20,000/- which he has now applied for. These items of work would complete his initial plans for the village and provide self-sufficiency for the maintenance of the Boys’ Village.


The entire scheme is a very well thought out one for the development of a Boys’ Village on very economic lines and based on the rural pattern of living. The training of the destitute and orphan boys on rural based economy for moulding their life for a better standard of living is a good model for running destitute homes and orphanages. At the same time, the Boys’ Village also is a demonstration Centre for the villagers to attain a reasonably good standard of living by proper utilization of the cultivable land by the adoption of modern technological research in farming, animal husbandry and other means that are available to them in the normal way through the Government Research and Block Development set up in rural areas. The general approach of Bro. Kimpton is in line with the Government approach to raise the standard of living of the rural people, where, however, the practical demonstration of these methods is now lacking, which Bro. Kimpton has started for others to emulate.                                                October 5th, 1974.                Bangalore 560 025”              


As time progressed it was quite evident to many that Boys’ Village was not merely a home for distressed and destitute boys but a village in the widest sense of the word and reaching into the neighborhood in a way that no ordinary institution that the Brothers administered had reached out to. The plans that were initially drawn up for the development of the village in Oct. 1973 were changed and constantly redefined over the subsequent years. Each year a set of objectives for the Village was published stating in a clear and concise manner what was intended to be achieved for the coming year. The papers dealt not only with the what was needed for the boys who were in residence but also the outreach programmes that were undertaken under the auspices of the Village and the activities that were carried out for the surrounding and neighbouring villages. A strong emphasis was placed on the need for the village accommodating the boys to be self-sufficient and the need for the produce of the farm to attain maximum capacity to enable this to happen. The farm was also to be seen as a model farm for the education of farmers in the immediate neighbor-hood to come and learn from the innovative farming techniques to enhance optimum production. That was the very undertaking that the Brothers had given when they were handed over the farm by the Benedictine Sarvodaya Ashram in 1968.


The paper which was one of the many papers prepared on the objectives over the years  could be considered as a ‘Declaration’ was compiled by Bro. James on the scope of the activities undertaken at Boys’ Village and set out in detail in January 1977. They read as follows:


A DECLARATION OF OBJECTIVES                               St Joseph’s Boys Village,



                                                                                                Periakulam Tk. S. India.


A farm was acquired in 1968. We started to develop it in 1971.

The Boys’ Village was opened in May 1974. It is owned organised and run by the De La Salle Brothers, a world- wide group of educators.

*******  ****  ******   *****

Overall Objectives

  1. To establish a village set-up; village in construction, in atmosphere, in simplicity, in government, in smallness, in approach to life.
  2. Being a village it will be dependent on mixed farming.
  3. Being a village it will be a gathering of small groups of families or family like groups. There will be 50 small boys living in village-type houses, together with the families of the farm workers and staff. There will be as much integration as possible among all the groups, in order to achieve a fuller family spirit.


Particular Objectives:


  1. Boys’ Village is intended for destitute or needy boys from 10 to 14 years. It will accommodate 50 boys.
  2. The boys will go out to the local village schools for schooling.
  3. They will participate as much as possible in running the Village and in farming activities. There will be a Boys’ Panchayat (this is the Indian village form of government).
  4. At 14 they will be allowed either to go to Boys’ Town for technical training or stay here for higher studies or become working (and earning) boys on the farm or leave to find a job.
  5. We want to be a model home for boys.


Village Integration:

  1. Our aim is to be out-looking and outreaching.
  2. Every effort will be made to remain constantly in touch with the villages around us by as complete integration as is feasible.
  3. Every effort will be made to resist the introduction of things foreign to village life by any kind of affluence.
  4. Nor must we accept anything so different that it would make us superior, artificial or unacceptable to the villages.
  5. Thus we must retain simplicity, smallness and openness: we must always be acceptable to all of our neighbours.


Self – Sufficiency:

  1. We aim at being ultimately absolutely independent of outside agencies for our continued existence, financially.
  2. We will need some help for the next 12- 18 months to establish, complete and reinforce our development programme to achieve this.
  3. Our self-sufficiency will be farm based (agriculture and livestock) with a wide range to balance any failures in one or more departments.


Demonstration Model Farm:

  1. We have a real desire and conviction that we must face squarely the food shortage in India and especially in this area.
  2. We wish also at the same time, to show other farmers around us that this can be done and overcome.
    1. We have therefore , already started the following:
    • Intensive agriculture by multi-cropping, and intercropping.
    • Sensible use of rough waste land by planting hardy fruit trees;
    • Using extensive and scientific irrigation practices and by tapping all possible source of water;
    • Intensive use of animal and green manures, village wastes, factory wastes, etc., to replace expensive fertilizers;
    • Introduce new crops, new seeds, new fruit trees, whether heavy yielding and/ or short term;
    • Labour intensive farming methods;

            Introduce a small but excellent dairy farm, poultry farm goat herd, poultry farm, sheep and goats.

  3. With all this we want to remain as far as possible, simple.  We want what we do, to be within the range of the average farmer, as far as is within reason. Thus our dairy, poultry-farm, sheep, etc., will be housed in village type constructions. We do not aim at being showy or to have classy farm buildings or equipment.  


  1. We recognise the serious effects of power shortage whether electrical or fuel fed.
  2. We plan to find cheap ways of using wind power and solar heat.
  3. We recognise the need find cheap ways of replacing cement and we have already experimented with various kinds of low cost buildings.
  4. It is most important to carry out all kinds of research into irrigation. This we have already begun.


Extension Work:

  1. Socio-medical work is already being done both in Boys’ Village for the local people and also in the surrounding villages.   
  2. Extensive low cost housing for the poor has been done in two villages.
    1. We are planning:
    • Classes for adult literacy;
    • Seminars on framing methods for farmers around;
    • Demonstrations of hygiene, etc.
    1. We are planning an agro-service centre.

    ***********  ***  **********  *************

IT IS THUS EVIDENT that while this project remains boy centred, it also has very real intentions of reaching out to and helping the district in which we live. We repeat that we want and must have as complete an integration both inside and outside our Boys’ Village, as far as possible.

                                                                                    Brother James E. Kimpton, fsc.


                                                                                                            December 1977.


It was necessary from the beginning that the outreach programmes that extended from Boys’ Village to the neighbouring areas and villages should in separate identity so that there would be no confusion between the sustainability of the Boys’ Village in respect to the young children under the immediate care of the Brothers at Genguvarpatti and the wider work of providing support to the poor in the surrounding villages. Sustainability of the Boys’ Village project was always from the beginning a priority. They did not have a school in the campus and they went out to the neighbouring village schools for their education. They mingled with other children and their families in the area. 


It was natural to look at the amenities and it was soon observed that many were in a frightful condition. For the most part the school conditions were pathetic until through getting assistance from donors and well-wishers, Bro. James improved the school conditions in all of the surrounding villages. He had also from the beginning provided medical assistance to not only to the children under Boys’ Village care but to all the poor neighbours who came to seek assistance. A dispensary was in place at Boys’ Village from the very beginning and not only did it provide medicines to the boys but also the people who came for medical help were also assisted. Nor did the outreach end there. Right from the beginning there was a determination to improve the living conditions of the poorest in the villages. Bro. James reported at the end of 1975 in what he called his first report on the progress of Boys’ Village that: “Our aim is also to be outreaching and also aware of the needs of our poorer neighbours all round us and to help them as much as we can. Thus we have the dispensary. We are also completely rebuilding an entire village of 30 houses 8 miles away. This (is) with the generous help of our Swiss Brothers who have supplied Rs 60.000 for this. This work is going very well.”  


Eventually the outreach programmes were all taken under one umbrella and a separate society was registered in the name of “Reaching the Unreached of Village India” as we shall see in a later chapter. 

While all this was going on the accommodation for the boys living at Genguvarpatti was still in a primitive condition and it was necessary to provide better facilities for the boys who resided there. This we see in a letter Bro. James sent to Bro. Patrick Aux. Visitor on 27 2 1981. It read as follows and was accompanied by detailed plans on the cottages he proposed to develop for the boys consisting of four small houses laid out side by side. The letter read as follows:


Bro. Patrick Aux VTR.

Madurai          27 .2 .81


Dear Brother,

Since 1974 when we first came here we have allowed the boys to live in some buildings which were only chicken houses. Although we have since then added a veranda and put the stone pillars, the building is still basically what it was originally.

I would very much like to rebuild all this line of rooms which are just inside our compound. I am sending you plans of this and would like the approval of the Council when we next meet. I am sure that we can find the money for this, which is about Rs 40,000. We will be able to use some of the existing laterals such as tiles, pillars, beams, electrical fittings, etc. Hence the low estimate. We will also do much of the work ourselves with masons and carpenters from the area.

There is also one other matter which needs to be regularised. When Bro. Calixtus was the chairman he wrote into your trust deed that seven acres of land belonged to the Archdiocese. Yesterday I went right through the files going back to 1960 and know for certain that there is no doubt but that all the property here belongs to the Institute. Not one single cent belongs to the Archdiocese. People can write what they like into trust deeds but it does not give them possession of such things as land. This must be deleted from the Trust Deed of Boys’ Town. All documents regarding land ownership are here with me and nowhere else. I also have the original document handing over the land to us signed by the trustees of this place before we were in charge.

Cordially yours,

Bro. James Kimpton, fsc



   Cottages for the boys were built, also a chapel, a new kitchen, three houses for the staff and visitors, a poultry farm, a dairy, a hostel for the senior boys and workers’ houses. Wells have all been repeatedly deepened and a new method of irrigation used. Once the crops and orchards established are fully productive the Boys’ Village will be self-sufficient.

            The Brothers have also introduced the open community. This means, that in addition to the Brothers we also consider the other people living here as part of a wider community and they are allowed to share in the way of life. There is very little distinction between any of us living here.

            The Spiritual exercises, although in some ways dependent on each of the Brothers individually, also comprises a sharing. Thus each evening there is a brief shared meditation. We also are quite open with one another and express our feelings and opinions without fear. We are also trying to live the simplest kind of life with no concessions made to the Western way of living.

            The apostolate extends far beyond the project itself. Each day we tend the sick poor of the villages around us free of charge. We also feed many poor who come to us each day and they are welcomed. We also maintain a Christ House for the very poor travelers along the road past our gate. We have adopted a village of 30 families. For these we have dug a well, planted 64 trees and are now due to start building houses, thanks to the generosity of our Swiss Brothers.


The extended apostolate that developed from Boys’ Village even from the very beginning was refined and eventually became an independent development known as “Reaching the Unreached of Village India” (RTU) but had already existed at Boys’ Village since its inception. It became a separate entity still under the management of Boys’ Village in 1978 as we shall encounter when we see the development of ‘Reaching the Unreached of Village India’ otherwise called RTU.


One of the first Brothers to assist Bro. James Kimpton in animating the boys was Bro. William. Later on Brothers Ignaci, Arockiasamy, Oscar, Alfred and Irudayaraj were in the community and assisted him with R.T.U. programmes.

Bro. I. Sebastian became the Director of St. Joseph Boys’ Village in 1986 with two Brothers to assist him. Bro. Sebastian learned from Bro. James Kimpton the intricacies of the management of Boys’ Village.  After he took charge of the institution he tried to improve the developmental work and training of the boys. Through various donors he also extended his work to neighbouring villages.


In 1993 Bro. Alfred became the Director of St. Joseph’s Development Trust. At that time young Brothers after their novitiate programme started having their community experience in that place. They went to R.T.U. schools to get teaching experience.


In 1994 Bro. Gnanapragasam became the administrator of St. Joseph’s Boys’ Village for one year In 1995 Bro. Sebastian took charge of Boys’ Village once again for a couple of years. He was also animating the various welfare programme of St Joseph’s Development Trust (SJDT). In 1997 Bro. Joseph succeeded Bro. Alfred as Director of Boys’ Village. He ably assisted Bro. Sebastian in materializing various programmes of SJDT. – Bro. Arulsamy.




In late 1974 a plot consisting of of about 27.23 acres of land were bought by Bro. James Kimpton at a bargain price for the support of the Houses of Formation. The property consisted of 16.41 acres of patta (totally owned) land, 5.82 acres of peremboke (government land) assigned, and about another 5 acres of unassigned peremboke land. The property had an excellent well giving this land excellent potential to produce. The negotiations to acquire the land were long and arduous but successfully concluded at about the time of the arrival of Most Hon. Charles Henry, Superior General for his pastoral visit in Jan. 1975. The total cost of acquiring the property amounted to Rs 130,000/-  


The money to purchase the land was provided by “Freedom from Hunger Campaign” based in Spain and the Swiss Lenten Campaign gave Rs 120,000/- to develop the farm. Bro. James went on to explain that, ‘I hope by means of this farm and by every other means I can find to 1) guarantee a certain income every year as required by all the departments of our Houses of Formation, and thus 2) relieve those in charge of this most important sector of our work in India from all their financial needs. By this means I hope that I will thus be contributing in the most effective way to the future and lasting apostolate of the De La Salle Brothers in India…no better way of reaching out to the thousands of the needy through the future of the Brothers in India. …I ask only for the fullest cooperation of the Brothers’. …letter to the Brothers 28th Dec. 1974. The farm was named in honour of Most Hon. Bro. Charles Henry, Superior General who was scheduled to visit India the following January.    


In the Council Minutes for 12th Jan 1975 Bro. James mentioned that an amount of Rs 25,000/- was yet to be paid and he was offered some Rs 24,000/- that had been donated from Belgium to pay the sum outstanding to complete the purchase. He said that he was treating the money as a loan that he intended to repay later. 

There were some discussions among the Brothers in the Region as to what Bro. James was doing at Boys Village and in order to allay their fears he wrote a letter explaining what he was doing and attempting to do as follows:

St Joseph’s Boys’ Village,

Genguvarpatti Tk. 624 203

28 December 1974


Dear Brothers,

Several times I have been asked by the Brothers what I am doing at Batlagundu. The superiors have also asked me to make my position clear to the Brothers of the Indian Region. I will attempt to do this briefly and I hope clearly by this letter.

  Let me immediately say that I can better serve the future of Boys’ Town by being away from Boys’ Town. Let me also tell you, once and for all debts and loans. I did this. In order to do it completely I brought with me to Boys’ Village, one outstanding loan due to OXFAM of Rs. 126,000. Thus I effectively gave the management a clean slate with which to start.

At least that.


Now I see that my main work is to support the Houses of Formation in such a way that they will be sure of being able to carry on their work even if funds from overseas completely stop, as is the likelihood in 1976. I have set myself the target, initially of Rs: 100,000. I realise that this will have to increase each year due to the rise in the cost of living and also, please God, to the increase in the numbers of trainees. To do this we have bought an excellent farm at a bargain price. This was done from money raised from Freedom from Hunger Campaign. The farm is partly developed but by means of a great deal of work, investment and careful management, it can be made fully productive in all its acreage. I hope by means of this farm and by every other means I can find to 1) guarantee a certain income every year as required by all the departments of the Houses of Formation, and thus 2) relieve those in charge of this most important sector of work in India from all worry as to their financial needs. By this means I hope that I will thus be contributing in the most effective way to the future and lasting apostolate of the De La Salle Brothers in India. I do this because I can see no better way of reaching out to the many thousands of the needy through the future of the Brothers in India. I can think of no better apostolate. I ask only for the fullest cooperation of the Brothers.

  Together with this I want also to organise and stabilise and ensure the continuity of the Boys’ Village.

  In both these projects, the new farm and the Boys’ Village, I am aiming at the greatest simplicity in administration, the greatest economy of men and money and the most fruitful sources of self-sufficiency and profitability. I want to put both on the soundest of foundations and I am happy to put up with the inconveniences inevitable to all pioneering.

  I am appending my plans for these projects so that you can see what we are aiming at. Let me assure you all that I am most anxious to help you wherever I can and in any way I can.

Cordially yours in Xto.

Brother James Kimpton, fsc


At the end of 1975 Bro. James was able to report that money had been contributed to the houses of formation despite the fact that the previous two years had been among the driest years at the time.

“In 12 months Rs 10,000 has been sent to the houses of formation. We trust that this will increase as the months pass.

The place is administered from Boys’ Village.”




RTU started as an out-reach support to the efforts of Boys’ Village as stated earlier in caring for poor boys in the Batlagundu area. As only young boys were being catered for at the beginning, it soon became evident to Bro. James Kimpton that there also other pressing and urgent needs that needed to be addressed in the nearby villages where grinding poverty had devastating effects on all the people and not just the children who were the immediate priority of the Brothers’ ministry. Bro. James wrote detailed notes and many letters of what he was attempting to achieve at that time some of which are reproduced here below.  


RTU Development                                                                                       31 August 2010


In the 1970’s we were caring for a large number of leprosy patients probably about 500 with the supervision of the Government Leprosy Department. UP to Kallupatti the Blue Sisters came from Nilakottai. Nobody cared for our area. In those days the only drug was DAPSONE which did not cure. Later MDT (Multi Drug Therapy) came which cured in 6 months the same treatment for T.B.

We also had a lot of polio cases. Some needed surgery at Leonard Hospital. We had physiotherapy every day and magnetic therapy by Mallika. Eventually we eradicated polio with the help of the Government.

We completely rebuilt the Dalit colonies in Genguvarpatti and two in G. Kallupatti. We built many houses all over both villages.

We put in the main water supply to Thummalapatti. We dug an excellent well next to the river and took the pipelines through coconut topes to the main water tank in Thummalapatti. We did the same for Kallupatti, a big fine well, up to two tanks on the hill and pipelines. All this was spoiled by subsequent panchayats.

Formerly the villages were ruled by village elders and there was unity and quite good control and co-operation with RTU. Then came Panchayat Raj and political parties and division and no cohesion and so the village suffered. The various political parties rarely worked together and were often anti each other.

The main complex was mostly formerly open fields belonging to different families. The main road was a small 6’ path. The offices were then largely living quarters and the verandas have all been absorbed into rooms. My office was only that room plus the bathroom. It was my bedroom and office. The chapel is where the store department is but there have been many alterations.

I cannot remember when or how or from whom we bought all the RTU land in small pieces.

On the main road near Boys’ Village RTU owned a large coconut garden which we developed with Mr Sebastian from empty land. Eventually it was sold to a rich Indian who lived in Singapore for an excellent profit which went into the children’s corpus fund. The following year the trees were attacked by disease and never recovered.

St Peter’s School started where the Michael Auditorium now is.  There were a few Primary School classes. Nothing else. Later we bought the land behind and also where the present Primary School is. Eventually those were demolished and converted into an auditorium which was subsequently improved to what it is today.

The archives or history of RTU and all its enterprises and outreach have always been carefully preserved in the form of diaries, albums, negatives and contact prints well kept, etc., all in tin trunks in the former main office. Now everything is substantially in computer form and DVD’s. It is important that all these are very carefully maintained and not lost in any way. One has only to look through all these dating from the earliest days of RTU to know all about the history of RTU.

                                                                        Bro. James Kimpton fsc.     President


RTU Children’s Villages.  As the above account makes clear Bro. James was very much involved with the lives of the poor people in and around Boys’ Village and in the neighbouring villages. When asked by Bro. Arockiadoss, President in 2009 how RTU was begun Bro. James sent the following account:


How it all started:

In January 1976 I was alone at Boys’ Village and each day went to Mass on my old Suzuki motorbike to St Thomas’ Church, Batlagundu for Mass, a distance of five km. Fr. Michael (RIP) was the Parish Priest and a good friend of Boys’ Village.

One morning after coming out of the church Father Michael was there with four children, three girls and a boy about 5 years old. Their mother had died of TB and the father starved to death trying to keep the children alive. He asked me to admit them all at Boys’ Village. In those days we did not take girls or boys younger than seven years. So I told Father that I could not take them, got on my motorbike and went off home.

On the way I received a strange message in my mind: “Go and get those children.” My instinctive reaction was: What will I do with them.” A reply came again to my mind: “you will be shown.” So I went for those children and the idea came to me to employ a widow to be a mother to them in their own small house. This is the start of our entire Boys’ Villages, hostels, residential schools and professional college studies. The ways of God are strange.

From four children RTU has grown to more than 1000 in constant care and that does not include all those who have passed right through the programme.

At Boys’ Village there were originally ten small houses. At the change of management in 1985 they were all obliged to leave and they followed me down to G. Kallupatti and from the nucleus of four large Children’s Villages grew as well four hostels for teenage girls and two for teenage boys.

We continue to maintain the family care system of 7-8 children, boys and girls from babies to older ones with a trained “mother”.


                                                                        Bro. James Kimpton, fsc. January 2010   


RTU and Education


In the 1970’s when RTU began work in Genguvarpatti and Kallupatti the two immediate local villages we did not run our own schools but we decided to improve what existed in these two villages in schools run by the Government, all of which were in ad condition.


Genguvarpatti had a small primary school. It was divided into two different places, one in the actual very small school and some classes in a private house in a different part of the village. We built more classrooms in the main school and carried out a lot of repairs, put in toilets and water and then brought all the classes together. Subsequently a great deal extra work was done over the years.


Many children did not go to school because they went for work in order to support their impoverished families. We offered to replace their small wages to the families if the children went to school. This was successful and most children went to school.


Kallupatti had the same problem. The Primary School was so small and lacking in classrooms, offices, water, toilets and kitchen. Some classes were held in a cow-shed the other side of the village belonging to Mr Sivaramakrishnan. RTU built several classrooms, office facilities, kitchen, a balwadi and put in water and toilets. It was now in one school compound with adequate facilities.


The High School was a disgrace. The mud and thatched classrooms were so dangerous or roofless that most classes were conducted outside under a few trees. RTU completely rebuilt the school in brick and cement with tiled roofs. Offices were built, kitchen and water toilets were provided and a teachers’ room and even a bicycle shed installed. Subsequently a hall was also built and a laboratory.


In the following years RTU built our own schools and balwadis in both Genguvarpatti and Kallupatti.


These two villages owe a large debt of gratitude to RTU for all the help given to their children in the schools.

                                                                                    Bro. James Kimpton, fsc. President

                                                                                    Reaching the Unreached

  1. Kallupatti – 625203

                                                                                    Periyakulam Tk., Theni Dt.



Letter of Bro. James to the Brothers and to the RTU friends and supporters explaining about RTU is here quoted in full:


REACHING                                                                            St. Joseph’s Boys’ Village

THE UNREACHED                                                                Genguparpatti P.O.

Of VILLAGE INDIA                                                                Periyakulam Tk. 624 203

  1. India.

                                                                                                01 01 ‘78

It is time I think, for the sake of our supporters and friends, to define as clearly as possible, what we are trying to achieve here in Batlagundu area. What is the reason for our work here and what we plan to do?


Basically I wish that people around me live decent lives free from the oppression of insecurity. I wish that no-one goes hungry or suffers from the effects of malnutrition, anaemia, blindness, and all other hunger caused diseases. I wish every-one to have a decent house, clothes, bedding and to enjoy the comforts I enjoy.

 I realise that it is impossible to reach everyone in need. I do not even toy to do this outside our own area of half-a-dozen villages nor do I allow it to deter me from doing the best I can in the area where God has put me for reasons known to Him and which and which are largely unknown to me.

It started with children in desperate need of a home, of a secure place warmed by acceptance and love and plenty of tolerance. In 1974 we started with 16 boys; we now have 60 which is the capacity. We also cater for another 100 children from their own homes in their won villages, which in many ways is better though not ideal.

            In future, if we have the choice of starting a new place for children, we will make sure that it is part and parcel of a village, built on to the village, and living off the village. I would design small separate village-type houses for six children to live together with yet other houses for the ones in charge, The children would be as free as any other children in secure good homes and the whole complex would be open to the rest of the “mother-village” with freedom of movement for the children and the villagers. The “home” would be merely an integral part of the existing village and NOT a closed-in entity, or worse still, a ghetto. Having built three ordinary villages I know that this ideal system is perfectly feasible and the most natural solution.


Security is one of the greatest needs of our villages in India.

Housing we have begun and will continue to attend to, good strong houses with smokeless kitchens. We have already built more than 100 so far in the nearby villages.

A Dispensary is fully functioning in the villages. It is managed by a young man, sponsored through his pre-medical training by A.I.D. He lives in the village with the people.

Abandoned Lepers and Old People are now cared for with houses, food and their other needs plus some weekly subsistence money.

T.B. Patients are helped through hospitalisation and then cared for subsequently.

Mothers and Babies in danger from malnutrition are given all that is needed in the way of milk powder, high protein foods, vitamins, clothes, hospitalisation, etc.

All this is presently attended to and is successfully functioning, partly with an employed staff but also largely with the help of our own boys.

The need which I feel is most pressing especially among certain sectors of the village social structure, is a new and wider opening for employment taking into consideration the utter lack of training in any form of industrial undertaking. This was painfully evident during the years of drought from 1974 to 1977. The people of the villages around us are wholly dependent on agriculture for their income. During these years very few could find employment. Many starved. Babies died.

We looked for small, easy run cottage industries which would be labour intensive and in which we could quickly train uneducated villagers to earn substantial incomes. We also studiously avoided any form of competition with any other industries in the area.

            My whole aim and desire was to have cottage industries paying the highest possible wages and after paying for raw materials, still break even. We do not want a profit oriented series of industries, but only a means of good income for the workers.

So presently the following are successfully functioning on these lines and will extend to their fullest potential:


  • Handloom Weaving: from towels to shirting; sarees, bed covers etc…
  • Sericulture: from growing the mulberry bushes to cocoons. Soon we will start our own silk spinning.
  • Pottery: from the traditional water pots to cooking pots, to flower pots and decorative pottery.



  • A Workshop for Leprosy patients who are now non-contagious; initially grass mat making, rugs and similar light crafts: bandage rolling using old sarees and dhotis; spinning and simple weaving, etc…
  • Small hand-made industries: rugs from waste materials, tapestry, ready-made clothes.
  • Preventive Medicine: We need a trained nurse for this.
  • Midwifery and Family Planning: to train the traditionally accepted midwives of the villages.
  • Training of a Paramedical Leprosy Worker.


The programme may seem large, but it is quite feasible with a dedicated staff who are also enterprising and motivated and trained to work as a team.

We hope that we will eradicate some of the endemic insecurity, hunger and misery of the local villages and lift up the people to a more secure future and a happier way of life.                       

Brother James Kimpton                                                                              1 10 ‘78        


NB We have formed a society which is now registered as follows:



And registered at Dindigul with the following number

  1. No 42 of 1978


The society was registered around August 1978 after the ‘Memorandum of Association’ for the governing it was accepted for registration. This document laid out in detail how the society was to be run and who the executive members were at that time. The registered office of the society was at Boys’ Village but much of the activities were conducted in the villages adjoining Boys’ Village. The society’s objectives were set out in detail as follows:

  1. To plan for and work with the village people of India for their economic development and to create social consciousness in them.
  2. To encourage cottage industries.
  3. To provide materials, equipment, machineries etc. at a reasonable rate or at free of cost to the villagers and to guide and undertake production of textiles, mats, silk, pottery and various other cottage crafts in different sizes, shapes, and improved varieties.
  4. To undertake marketing activities so as to enable villagers to sell their products at economic prices and to guide them to avail themselves of facilities provided by the Government.
  5. To build and provide houses for homeless Villagers, including lepers & the aged.
  6. To help the homeless villagers build houses.
  7. To liberate the villagers from their indebtedness.
  8. To arrange for loans and other beneficial schemes for the villagers.
  9. To provide and encourage medical assistance at villages in the form of hospitals, clinics, dispensaries , coaches, health services and similar centres for all, especially for mother and child, irrespective of religion, race, caste community or social status.
  10. To promote the development of physical, intellectual and spiritual welfare of old, destitute, invalid leper, T.B. patients, children and other needy people and to provide for them means of substance, relief and rehabilitation.
  11. To sponsor children through their education for as long as required.
  12. To initiate, support and promote the advancement of educational activities in villages for the children, and undertake non formal education for the adults and those who have dropped out from the school in their early age.
  13. To recruit, train and employ workers for the running of the Society.
  14. To function as a liaison body and as an information centre between the government and the villagers.
  15. To take over and hold any or all land, buildings, assets or liabilities of unincorporated societies with the consent of the society concerned and if the terms of the trust deeds or constitutions allow it.
  16. To purchase, take on lease, hire or otherwise acquire and hold and also to sell, transfer of lease any movable or immovable property or any rights or privileges for the purpose of the society.
  17. To guide, help and encourage the villagers in matters relating to health, sanitation, education insurance, savings, kitchen gardening, poultry keeping, cattle rearing etc.
  18. To receive gifts and contributions from within and outside India for the work of the society.
  19. To borrow or raise money with or without interest as may be determined from time to time.
  20. To execute or register all deeds and documents necessary for any of the purposes aforesaid and to do all such acts and other things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above objects or any of them.


It was indeed a very bold step but as Bro. James said many years later:  “I started my work in this village without a penny. But I had faith that He will show me the way”.

           Since its founding in 1978  Reaching the Unreached has concentrated its work on providing help and support for the most needy sections of society, for the poorest of the poor, for the destitute and the deserted,  the old, the sick, the homeless, the unemployed, for women and children and for those with no-one to turn to. Since its beginning R.T.U. aims at developing the village life, getting moral support from the people of the village. It “provides schooling, comfort and security to the stranded children. The following programmes organized by Bro. James Kimpton and his staff, stand as tangible testimonials to the growth and development of R.T.U.

Foster family Programme.

                       This foster family programme is meant for destitute abandoned children to provide them with family care. There are two children’s villages namely Anbu Illam in Kallupatti and Nirmala Children’s village in Bodi. They have many facilities such as schools, shops, play grounds, library and entertainment.


Village health care scheme.

        The villages are the worst affected areas burdened with ill health, social injustice and exploitation. Literacy will certainly improve and enable them to combat these social evils that are omnipresent in every little village. Periodically Audio – visual shows, puppet shows were screened in 16 villages and street plays were performed to educate the villagers on themes like personal hygiene, nutritional care, environment, mother and child health, sanitation, AIDS awareness and female infanticide.



Industries Department.

It is the major income source programme and the department consists of handloom and batik section. The handloom section provides employment to women and the batik section aims the rehabilitation of the lepers.


Education Department.

          There are 3 schools managed and maintained by RTU. Qualified teachers are employed in these schools to impart education as an all-round development. These schools are well equipped with modernized laboratories and spacious library. In the vocational Training Centre, Courses in screen-printing, electrical wiring, tailoring and two wheeler maintenance are offered.

The creative center unearths the hidden potential skills of the students. It is known for preparation of greeting cards, wooden toys and educational materials. No doubt, these schools do stand as models in those poverty stricken villages. More-over, education is imparted to all irrespective of caste, creed & religion free of cost


Rural housing department.

It is responsible for providing low-cost houses to the poorest of the poor in these villages. It supervises the manufacturing of tiles, Ferro-cement doors and other allied accessories required for the low cost- housing.


Water development department.  

Safe drinking water is a rare commodity in the neighbourhood of R.T.U. A total of 90 bore-wells were drilled and hand pumps were installed at 79 villages in Madurai, Dindigul and Theni Districts.


            The R.T.U. members were elated to see their efforts bearing fruits in their mission to uplift the weaker sections of societies.  The noble vision and missionary work will continue to remind the Lasallians of their father and founder, St. John Baptist De La Salle, the guide in all their endeavours. This society has since been adopted by the Capuchin Franciscans who continue the works of charity to the most needy and poorest of the poor in Village India.