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From the beginning

Rev.Fr.P.Crysac MEP., was the inspirational force behind the founding of this institution viz.St.Joseph’s Industrial School. This institution was to give the poorest section of the Nilgiris, most of them belonging to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, the real means of livelihood and to get suitable employment as artisans and become respectable citizen of this country.

On 19th Dec.1928, Mr. Hilton Brown, the then secretary to the Government at Madras, sanctioned the proposal of the Ootacamund Municipal Council by a Government Order to sell 4 acres of land in Kandal extension area for Rupees one thousand, to St.Mary’s Church located in St.Mary’s Hill for the establishment of the present Industrial School. Fr.Perrin immediately constructed the building with the help of generous benefactors and his friends here and abroad. The school was formally opened on 3rd of May 1931. Fr.Perin became its first Manager and Correspondent.

The School was started with 30 boys. However 12 out of these 30 boys did not complete the course. This made Fr.Perrin start St.Theresa’s orphanage that was attached to the School. When that was ready, on 23rd of July 1933 a group of 25 boys travelled from Coimbatore to Ootacamund under the leadership, of Rev.Bro.A.M. Raphael. Under his stewardship the boys found a home to live and a school for their education.

However, when the going was tough the Ootacamund Diocese decided to hand over the management to the Karnataka Jesuits.

Karnakata Jesuits from 1959

In the year 1959, the Jesuit Vice-Province of Karnataka accepted the management of this institution from the diocese of Ootacamund. Rev.Fr.Joseph Zambon SJ was its first Manager and Correspondent. Under his able stewardship and that of his worthy successor Rev. Fr.Lawrence Paul Colaço, the whole institution got a face-lift. Thus the Jesuit Charitable Institution of Nilgiris was born.

More and more boys flocked the Boys’ Home. The five years course training in Carpentry and Cabinet Making was changed (CCM) into a 3 years programme from 1964 onwards with the approval of the Government. This move helped the boys to come out fast, as full-pledged carpenters and be of help to their families financially.

As the number of boys, seeking admission in Boys' Home increased, the need of a new and bigger home became the felt-need. With the generous help of our friends here and abroad, especially Le Missioni, and "Misereor", on 28th May 1961, a very spacious building of boys' home was built. St.Theresa's orphanage was rechristened as St. Joseph's Boys' Home.

In 1968 St. Joseph’ s Woodworks - the Saw Mill of the school was shifted from the school campus to a newly constructed Saw Mill in a plot of land extending 4 acres and 80- cents in Kakathoppu, purchased from the Government.

In July 1983, to add new skill-training to the students, Fitter trade - a two-years programme was started with the approval of the National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT), Ministry of Labour, New Delhi, This move was further enhanced in the year 1986 with another two-years course on Mechanic Motor Vehicle (MMV) with the recognition of the same Council.

Rev.Bro. Benedict Simonetto, S.J., stands out in the history of the institution because of his outstanding contribution as a manager-cum-skilled carpenter. The touch of his hand can be felt everywhere in the institution. It will be fitting to say that the hard work and foresight of Bro. Simonetto, for 39 years raised this institution to newer heights.

Till date, close to 1873 Carpentry boys, 346 Fitter boys and 259 Mechanic Motor Vehicle boys have passed out of this institution. Out of them, we are proud to state that not less than 75 % belong to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

In the year 1999 the Jesuits from Madurai Province came to the help of Karnataka Jesuits to run the institution. Some Jesuits from Madurai Province have been working in this institution for some time. Fr.Ignatius Amalraj was the First Principal & Correspondent of the St. Joseph's Industrial School from July 1999 to June 2007. Under his leadership the institution got the ISO 9001 Certificate in 2000. It should be noted that St.Joseph’s Industrial School is the first ITI in India to get the ISO Certificate. Many developments were made during this period. He was the first Principal and Correspondent who successfully made the fixation of Pay Scale to the Management Staff. He concentrated in Carpentry production and major orders were taken from the Ordinance Cordite Factory, Aruvankadu. Ten Brand New Computers were purchased for the institution. Intercom facilities were made available to all the sections of the instite. Net working system was introduced for the easy reference of each section. New Xerox machine was purchased. New fax machine was installed for easy communication of the office correspondence. All these developments were carried out with the income procured from the production. Two of the teaching staff members were sent to Germany for training in Production Technology. In the year 2005 New Turbo Cooler Lorry was purchased for the easy transportation of finished furniture to be sent to all over Tamilnadu. Till then, we were hiring lorry for transportation facilities. New HI- FI Public Address audio System was purchased and it was given for rent for all the Institutions nearby and also for the public. New land was purchased at Mettupalayam where a seasoning-plant was put up. Necessary machines were installed there in the same year.

In June 2007, Fr.S.Amalraj took charge as the Principal and Correspondent of this Institution. Then came Fr. Soosai Raj, the Manager of Carpentry and Cabinet Making (CCM) and the Director of St.Joseph’s Wood works . Unfortunately, Mechanic Motor Vehicle (MMV) Course was suspended due to non availability of placement in the trade. In January 2008, many of the boys and girls of local area are coming for learning Driving. Parents find more safety for their girl children in learning driving in this Institution under Jesuit fathers.

In August 2009, Welder Trade (NCVT) was started as a self- financed course. It goes hand in hand with the existing Carpentry and Cabinet Making in which Welder Trade complements CCM and Vice Versa. Under Fr. Sooai Raj’s concentration, Welding Section started production of steel furniture. Till today it is going on with full swing in steel production.

In 2010, Non – Formal Computer course was started for women and school children to make them relevant in a competitive world of career seeking where the computer skills have become very essential. New Boys Home building was built by the able leadership of Fr.Soosai Raj and the boys’ home was equipped with modern facility of solar water heater. Old asbestos roof was replaced by new zinc sheets for School auditorium.

In 2011 New machines like Panel Saw, Auto Mortised Machine, Edge Binding machine, Auto Tenon machine, Boring machine, Hand plainer , Zig Zag machines, Hitachi Log Cutter (Chain cutter), Hand cutter were purchased for easy and speedy production in CCM Section. The 407 Mini Lorry was sold out and a New Bolero pick up van was purchased for transportation of finished products. In August 2011 Fitter Section was suspended due to non availability of trainees.

Ours is an institution, which was started for the poor. And therefore the poor students have every right to enter these portals and sanctify them by their labour.

And at present a new team of Jesuits has taken up the administration of the Industrial School; viz.Fr.Xavier Joe Freddie as the Superior and Correspondent, Fr.Richard as the Principal, Bro.Tony as the Treasurer and Fr.M.S.Irudayaraj as the Minister and Sch. Then Amirtharaj as the Director of the Boys’ Home.