Our History

In 1954, the Madurai Guild of Service established a home for orphaned and destitute children, naming it Balar Illam. In 1961, using land donated by the government, the Guild expanded and relocated the orphanage away from the noise and dust of the city, to the green countryside around the villages of Tirunagar and Nagamalai. At Tirunagar, a home was built for one hundred orphaned and destitute girls and at Nagamalai, a home for fifty boys.

In 1980, Heinz Scholze, a high school geography teacher from Beilafield, Germany, visited Balar Illiam during a trip to Madurai. After spending time with the children at the orphanage, he was so taken with the project that he, along with a group of teacher friends in Germany, decided to fund the development of 32 acres of land that had recently been donated by a foreign aid organization. The land, located near the village of Karadikkal, was used to create a farm that generated sufficient income to support a third home and school for orphaned girls. In order to get the farm off the ground, new wells were dug, land was fenced in, soil reclaimed and irrigated, rice, pulses, and peanuts grown, coconut, mango, lime and guava orchards planted, a vegetable garden sown and sheep and dairy farming begun. With the proceeds of the farm and with additional funding from the government and the German school teachers of Scholze's organization -- the Verin Karadikkal School Farm India (VKSFI) -- a third home was built for 250 girls as well as a school for 450 rural girls. The school included a middle school, a high school, and a higher-secondary system.