December 16 2008

SOS Children's Villages mourns the death of Mr. Jagan Nath Kaul

It is with deep regret that we announce that Mr. Jagan Nath Kaul, founding member and life-long patron of of SOS Children's Villages India and member of the senate of SOS-Kinderdorf International for two terms, has passed away on 16 December 2008.

Photo: SOS Archives
Photo: SOS Archives
Mr. Kaul was not only a member of the very early days of the international engagement of SOS Children’s Villages but also a highly respected, deserving personality who has committed his life to the work of SOS Children's Villages. We join in our sympathies with many children in India and include him in our prayers.

Jagan Nath Kaul was born on 13 October 1924 in Srinagar and was educated in Kashmir and the Universities of Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi University. He started his professional career with the City of Delhi. In 1962, on being awarded a Fulbright scholarship, he left for the USA to do advanced studies in Child and Youth care.

In the year 1963, Mr. Kaul met Hermann Gmeiner, who was visiting India to establish SOS Children’s Villages. It turned out to be a meeting of two kindred souls. Mr. Kaul identified completely with the SOS concept and agreed to return to India to try and set up SOS Children’s Villages. He dedicated his life to the sake of the children and started a movement when he established the first SOS Children's Village at Greenfield in Faridabad in 1964 with the active support of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi.

In 1968 the SOS Children’s Village Greenfields opened its gates and Mr. Kaul became the village director. It was his endeavor to reach out to as many children in India as possible and to establish at least one SOS Children’s Village in every province. Today India has 31 SOS Children's Villages and 75 other projects.

He has succeeded in involving thousands of Indians in fulfilling their social responsibilities towards the Indian child. A firm believer in the partnership of the state and people, he has never hesitated in demanding and standing up for the rights of children.

He served SOS Children’s Villages of India in various capacities, starting out as a village director and rising in position and responsibility as the organisation grew to be given the position of Secretary General. From the year 1989 to July 2007 he was the Honorary President and the Patron of the national association. He also served for two terms as Senator for SOS-Kinderdorf International.

While he received numerous awards for his efforts and commitment to the children in India and is probably the most decorated social worker in India, for him the best reward remains being lovingly called “PAPAJI” i.e. Revered Father by all in the SOS family.
Mr. Kaul leaves behind his wife Indira, his son, three daughters and grandchildren.

"When we give a child a home, we are expressing our belief in life and the fundamental good in people." Jagan Nath Kaul