Having analysed some aspects which underscore the global economic system and its injustice, we now would like to focus on someone who fights every day to bring some equality and give a chance to those born in impoverished countries. Therefore, here comes the interview that Don Jose Karekatt, founder of ITSSCAT India (Institute of Talent Search for Social Change and Transformation of India), kindly gave us.

The interview

Dear Don Jose, tell us a bit about yourself. Where were you born? Where do you live, and what do you do?

I was born in 1963, in a village called Kuruvilassery, in the district of Thrissur in the state of Kerala, India. This place is situated in the central part of the state. I come from a very devoted Catholic family of five children: three boys and two girls. Parents are no more with us. We are two priests, my elder brother and me. I was ordained a priest in the year 1993.

I worked in a parish for five years, but I have spent the major part of my life, 18 years, with convicted prisoners working with the department of prisons in the correctional, reformative and rehabilitative programs of the prisoners. I have a PhD in Youth Ministry with a research on Criminal Youth Psychology from the pontifical university of Salesianum in Rome. Right now I live in Trivandrum – the capital city of the state of Kerala.

In 2011 after my services to the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council for six years as the State Director of the Ministry to the prisoners, I, seeing the condition of a good number of talented students, decided to do something for them who are deprived of opportunities, facilities and financial support in the family to study in accordance to their desires, dreams and caliber. It is also my vision to bring a substantial change in the lives of these children as well as in the society through them since there still a serious situation of poverty and suffering among the larger majority of the poor people in India.

Therefore I started from my own vision, initiative and leadership an institute known as ITSSCAT India, in order to help some of the children from these categories to study in accordance to their desires and capacity and to get an in-way to the systems of governance, and empower them to strive for social resurgence offering them all they require to be good people, leaders and parents tomorrow to contribute positively to society.


What is the Institute of Talent Search for Social Change and Transformation of India and how long has it been active?

ITSSCAT India (Institute of Talent Search for Social Change and Transformation of India) is an innovation and innovative approach in the field of education with a new ideology and methodology towards the benefit of highly intelligent children from the economically marginalized families in particular and the welfare of the society and country in general. This endeavour integrates the Indian traditional method of education (‘Gurukula’) with a modern approach in order to retain and reinforce the age old values, customs, cultures and traditions, and bring up a new generation with a different approach to life and service contrary to that of the modern approach, which is utilitarian and commercial.

It aims to the integral and over all development of the person rather than merely class room education, preparing these underprivileged children to become the catalyst and the medium of good service, change and transformation by getting into the administrative and public services of the nation. This educational methodology tries to delve out every talent, capacity and intelligence of the student even to help them bring out their inventive skills from a very young age onwards, and motivating them to make their indelible impression in the society and the world through their invaluable contributions.


What kind of people is the Institute aimed at? What are the expectations placed on them?

Students of this institute are both girls and boys between 13 and 18 years of age, who have academically an average score of 80%. They are children who are deprived of parents, or facilities and opportunities at home, or children who suffer awful financial constraints. Our effort is to help around 50 students from the class VIII to XII, every year with accommodation, food and lodging and with all other facilities to improve their studies and develop all other talents promoting an integral formation of each student.

They are to tap the opportunity given to them and grow in that disposition, study well and develop good character and personality in order to serve rest of the people in the society. They are expected to get in to higher professions like the Indian civil services and administrative services and even scientific inventions and discoveries in order to serve society and the country and the world at large, safeguarding justice, equality and freedom. They should help other poor people who are in need.

They are expected to support the Institute in the future in order to develop it, in order that it may serve many more such children in the future. They are expected to be the lifelong members of this institute.


Who is backing your project? What are the costs involved?

It is individuals with their contributions who back this project. The costs involved are their daily housing, food and lodging, their education, studies and the training programs. The project started in a rented house 6 years ago, is still in the initial stages without much infrastructure and major funding.

Do you accept donations?

Donation by the individuals is only and main funding stream of this project. We have no other source of income. Therefore we do receive donations from all over where ever we can find and get.

Anyone wishing to help Don Jose and his Institute can get in direct contact with the project at this link http://itsscat.org/.



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