“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy”. – Rabindranath Tagore.
Nothing describes the life of Dr. Cletus Babu, the founder of Social Change and Development (SCAD) better than this quote. A priest who gave up his calling to plunge himself full time into the service of humanity is a heart-warming story.
SCAD located in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu, is a registered charitable organisation found in 1985 initially helping gypsies and leprosy patients. Today the organisation boasts of educational institutions that provide vocational education to rural youth and they serve over 500 villages in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts of Tamil Nadu. Their rural development model has a holistic approach, aiming to ‘reach out the unreached’ and help them stand on their own. ‘Empowerment’ is what they believe in and not just charity.
From gypsies, leprosy patients, the destitute and aged, differently abled, snake charmers, farmers, youth, children to women, SCAD has reached out to all. Their community projects involve helping women form self-help groups so that they gain confidence to avail micro-credit, educating villagers so that they understand issues affecting them, provide them with health facilities through mobile units, reach out to farmers through technology demonstrations to help increase farm productivity and encourage animal husbandry for extra income.
The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has awarded SCAD for the best functioning women’s self-help groups and also for the best functioning women’s federation. Dr. Cletus Babu was awarded the Best Social Entrepreneur for the year 2007 by the Prime Minister.
- Founded by Dr Cletus Babu working with 5 villages in Cheranmahadevi
- Formed 35 women’s groups
- Started working with people suffering with leprosy
- Started working with the gypsy community
1989 – 90
- The first secondary school in Tirunelveli opened
- Tree planting began with 200 trees planted
- First non-formal school for gypsy community opened
1991 – 92
- Nutritional biscuits made for school children to minimize nutritional deficiency and increase learning capacity
- The school cum residential care centre opened for physically challenged children Anbu Illam
1996 – 97
- KVK (Farm Science Centre) was opened in Vahaikulam, Tuticorin
- The Industrial Training Institute, the Polytechnic College and the Community College in Cheranmahadevi all opened to diversify educational opportunities
- Started a higher education college to provide vocational training for rural youth communities
- Total membership of women self-help group members hits 36,617
2001 – 04
- Started another Industrial Training Centre at Vahaikulam
- Good Shepherd school was opened in Tuticorin
- Relief measures to the Tsunami villages in Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts
- Cletus Babu received “The Social Entrepreneurial of the Year 2005” awarded by the “Confederation of Indian Industry” & “Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship”
- Received the ‘Best Self Help Group’ award from the Tamil Nadu government
- The teachers training institute was opened at Cheranmahadevi.
- Environmental protection activities were initiated including tree planting, kitchen gardens, ooranie formation and de-silting, rainwater harvesting, biochar initiatives and carbon burying.
- The first wind turbine was erected
- More than 100 women self-help group members are elected as local village presidents, ward members or councilors
2006 – 07
- The then President of India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam visited SCAD for the CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) Conference and inaugurated a new building of FX Engineering College
- The ortho and prosthetic unit and training centre was opened at Cheranmahadevi
- A dispensary and community hall was built for those people affected by leprosy
- Started St. Mother Teresa Engineering College, Vahaikulam SCAD Engineering College, Cheranmahadevi
- Introduced the first mobile clinic van, a fully furnished vehicle to provide treatment and therapy to the differently abled in the community
- Celebrated the Silver Jubilee Year, the Governor of Tamil Nadu Dr. Surjit Singh Barnala released the book ‘Empowering the Disadvantaged’
- Vanakkam India – a Tamil daily new paper was started
- Launched the SCAD Knowledge City, a 500 acre campus at Palladam, near Coimbatore that will house a group of Premier Educational Institutes and Facilities.
- SCAD World School, a unique International School, built as a part of the SCAD Knowledge City was commissioned.
- SCAD Institute of Technology, a premier engineering and technology institute started at the SCAD Knowledge City Campus.
- Opening of the grand SCAD CET Audiotrium with ample space
- Opening of great FX Auditorium with good architecture 2013 Francis Xavier School CBSE that will house a group of Premier Educational Institutes and Facilities.
- Scad World School CBSE – Chengapattu, a unique School, built as a part of the SCAD Knowledge City was commissioned.