Brother Lionel – Reaching the Unreached
St Peter’s is very proud to be associated with the work of Reaching the Unreached, an NGO in South India, which was founded by former St Peter’s Art teacher, Brother Lionel, in 1974.
James Kimpton (Brother Lionel), was once Head of Art here at St Peter’s School, however, he decided that God had another mission for him and emigrated to India to help the poorest of the poor. His first mission was to help the ‘Railway children’- the children who had run away from home and were trying to make a living in railway stations all over India. After several years of helping these children, he moved to an area where poverty was even more widespread.
He decided to build a small village and take in orphans. As the village grew he set up a pastoral system whereby young girls who had grown up as orphans in his village themselves, looked after a group of 8 children within a ‘house’, Brother Lionel provided shelter, food, clothing and education. He also used his skill as a water diviner to help local villages, he would discover it and sink wells so that villagers did not need to walk miles every day to collect water. This work was financed via donations from Lasallian schools and churches around the world. He also single-handedly eradicated Leprosy in the area, using contributions made to his charity to purchase the necessary medication to treat the disease.
Brother Lionel was a great believer in helping people to help themselves. As he said,
if you give a man a fish he will eat for a day, if you teach a man to fish you will feed him for a lifetime.
Brother Lionel sadly passed away in 2017, but his work improving the lives of people who no-one else helps, hence the name of the charity ‘Reaching the Unreached’, continues.
Reaching the Unreached, known as RTU, has an enormous impact on the lives of many people from communities living in impoverished rural villages. The charity provides a family home for nearly 1,000 orphaned or abandoned children in four Children’s Villages – in small family houses with ‘foster’ mothers for the younger children and hostel-style accommodation for older teenagers. They run their own schools and provide healthcare, clean water, housing, education and support to the most disadvantaged families and communities in remote villages. Brother Lionel named the schools St Peter’s after our own school here.
Brother Lionel's life-changing work continues, led by Fr Antony Paulsamy who was one of the early orphaned boys that Brother Lionel helped, and by the largely Hindu staff team, many of whom are former beneficiaries.
Current staff and students, and many former students, have been supporting the tremendous work for many years, raising thousands to help care for the children and build new classrooms. They rely on the kind generosity of many of our St Peter’s families for support. You can sponsor one of the children in the Children’s Villages for just £15 a month and there are also opportunities for Year 13’s to volunteer in India with Lasallian Projects, in the summer after their A Level exams. Please do have a look at the RTU website or contact the UK Co-ordinator, Mo Houlden.