‘Children are at the heart of everything we do in rural India’

July 13, 2017

PERSONAL MISSION: Father Antony Paulsamy with Canon John Webb, parish priest of St Mary’s Catholic Church, Poole, and parish representative for Reaching the Unreached John Duffy. Father Antony, as director, was visiting St Mary’s to give the parish an update on the progress RTU had made over recent months. He was raised by the charity in the Boys Village.

 

 

THE Indian director of a Fordingbridge-based charity gave an update on its progress when he came to Dorset to visit one of the parishes that supports them.

Reaching the Unreached was set up in 1978 by a group of friends of Brother James Kimpton who were personally inspired by his work to help some of the most vulnerable and socially excluded people in the remote, rural villages of Tamil Nadu, India.

The charity’s name was given by Brother James, who has worked for RTU for the past 50 years and understands the customs, hopes and fears of the local people.

Brother James just reached the great age of 92 and can no longer travel, so current director Father Antony Paulsamy flew to the UK to inform the charity’s supporters recent developments that had taken place. The monk belongs to the order of the Friars Minor Capuchin.

Having previously taught the Bible in a theological seminary , Father Antony served as a volunteer for RTU between September 2006 and April 2007.

Czech parishioner can testify for the work being done

Back in February 2013 St Mary’s parishioner Libor Kalny, originally from the Czech Republic, went on a personal visit to Tamil Nadu to visit the work of the charity and has helped to raise funds for them ever since. Whilst he was there, he took a number of videos showing the work of the charity behind the scenes and here is one of them that focuses on the children, schools and education.

Father Antony lived in the Boys Village which is two kilometres away from RTU from the age of 10 until he left school.

The charity sees the poor in terms of their individuality and in terms of community and try to be multi-faceted and run as an integrated development programme for the rural poor.

RTU is looking after many orphans

There are four children’s villages where orphaned or abandoned children up to 13 years old live in small family houses with a foster-mother and seven hostels where older teenagers live with a warden.

There are over 960 children in their care with over two-thirds being girls and are the only organisation in their area that look after children who are HIV positive and 86 children are there who have lost one or both parents to AIDS.

‘Good education is life-changing’ – Father Antony Paulsamy

On the website Father Antony writes: “When my provincial allowed me to serve in the RTU, I was extremely happy. Being a child of RTU, it was one of my dreams to serve here. If the poor rise up and stand on their own two feet through RTU, that would be the success of my service as director here.”

In the most recent newsletter he adds: “Where possible we keep families together through our Home Support programme but where one or both parents are gravely ill or have died, our Children’s Villages provide a safety net in a village setting with a foster-mother, and brothers and sisters. Our schools give all the opportunities that a good education can give.

“Children are at the heart of all our work to reach out and serve the poorest people in rural villages and give them the means for their own self-reliance.”

  • IN highlighting the work of the charity, this website understands the feelings of many who do not wish to see coverage of church issues, but just as any institution gets things wrong, it is important to give it credit when it gets things right.

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