Milestones

A satisfying journey empowering people for a promising future… 

1995
Society for Poor People Development (SPPD) was founded by Raju and a group of four fellow students. A registered office was opened in Raju’s parents’ home in Thannirpalli. The first Evening Study Centre (ESC) was launched.  

1997
The scope of the ESCs increased to five villages. Early support came from William Buchanan, Professor of Philosophy at Michigan University, USA. Another supporter was Antony David from Wales, UK. 

1998 - 1999
Raju met Andrew McElroy from Ireland in Delhi and explained him the work of SPPD. The following year Andrew McElroy visited the project. He was so impressed with what he saw that he recommended SPPD to the Irish Embassy for funding.  

2001
The then Irish Ambassador to India, HE Philip McDonough, visited SPPD. SPPD bought a 12.75 acres of land in Velalpatti. Village. This is now a rapidly expanding research and training centre on dry land farming. 

2002
Funded by Irish Aid, construction of a Community Centre was started in Soriyampatti, a village 15 km from Thannirpalli.   2003 SPPD created Red Ribbon Club with 21 members, linked to Women Development Corporation of Tamil Nadu. 

2006
The new Community Centre was officially opened by HE Kiaran Dowling, the then Irish Ambassador to India. 

2007 - 2010
Mr. Patrick Doolan, an acquaintance of Mr. Andrew McElroy, visited the Community Centre. This resulted in a commitment on his part to fund-raise in the US and Europe and mentor the organization for a period of 3 years until 2010. 

Now SPPD employs more than 40 full-time and 26 part-time staff, serving the educational & health needs of more than 700 children, supporting over 9,900 women, skill development for youth,health and sanitation and sustainable agriculture.