History of Goodwill Children's Homes

The story of Goodwill began in Tamil Nadu in the 1970s when a couple of school teachers established the first home for younger children at Thandigudi. In the years which followed they expanded the operation on that site and built a base of supporters in the United Kingdom and further afield. The object of Goodwill from the earliest years was to provide care and education for destitute children in a small part of Tamil Nadu which included both an area of plains (around Dindigul) and the Palani Hills around Thandigudi.

Children at Thandigudi

In order to establish Goodwill it was registered in the United Kingdom as a charity and in the State of Tamil Nadu as a Charitable Society: this also involved the appointment of an Executive Committee in Tamil Nadu which became responsible under Indian law for the ownership of property, the employment of staff and the care of children. A second expansion became necessary as the earlier intakes of children came to the stage of needing a secondary education which was not easily available in the hills: so homes were opened for teenage boys (at Dindigul and Oddanchataran) and girls at Pattiveeranpatti.

The experience of running the homes for younger and older children led to two further developments. First, it was evident that some of the secondary age children were not academically strong enough to proceed beyond the age of sixteen and the UK charity found funds to establish trade training courses in a variety of practical subjects – a programme which continues today. Secondly it also became evident that the residential provision at Thandigudi and the plains homes were not necessarily the best way of helping the poorest families from the tribal people in the Palani Hills: to meet this need the Tribal Outreach Programme (or TORP) was begun in 2002 and now reaches twenty seven villages in the hills – focussing on the needs of children in those villages.