Early life of Kulandei Francis
Kulandei Francis was born in 1946 in the Karipatti village of Salem district of Tamil Nadu. His parents were agricultural labourers and he passed his childhood in utter poverty. He was the only one of his siblings to obtain a university degree. His experiences of childhood poverty, especially an incident in which the local money lender cheated his mother out of the family's sole plot of land, were catalytic in his decision to take up social work as a vocation. There he took the pledge to erase the sorrow of the poor cultivators in India.
Kulandei Francis completed his B.Com from the Annamalai University in Chidambaram. In 1970, he joined the Fathers of the Holy Cross and studied theology at the De Nobili College in Pune. From that time, he was involved with Caritas India and volunteered as an aid worker during the Bangladesh War of Independence in 1971 and the Pune drought of 1972. He showed his brilliance and diligence to his social work
In 1976, Francis went to Natrampalayam, a remote rural village in Krishnagiri district where his exposure to the local villagers' miseries proved to be a life-changing experience. In that year he renounced his priesthood. After that in 1979 he founded the Integrated Village Development Project. He educated himself in Social Development and Rural Management from Canada and the Philippines.
Integrated Village Development Project of Kulandei Francis
The Integrated Village Development Project offers training to rural students in enhancing their skills namely training in rural sanitation, rural accountancy, management, giving educational support for students in high schools, scholarships and also in computer skills. This veteran social activist Mr. Francis was also successful in pursuing the financial empowerment of thousands of rural women and their families through micro financing system. "Integrated Village Development Project" (IVDP) in Krishnagiri, he initially started along with the village people of India. He has conducted night schools in the light of gas lamps. In the villages he set up primary treatment centers for the initial treatment of villagers of the remote areas.
Then, with the help of development organizations, he undertook a micro-water shed programme that, over twenty-two years, built three thirty one mostly small check dams that caused beneficial to poor cultivators and their families in sixty villages. Kulandai Francis's main objective is to eradicate the poverty, illiteracy and other social ills from villages of India.