Map of groups

Key figures

  • First organisation 1965
  • Member organisations 4
  • Trial members 0

Pierre Ceyrac, a French Jesuit priest, went to work in India as a missionary in 1937. Ceyrac was shocked by the extreme poverty and the caste system in India and devoted his life to the country’s poor and specifically to the Dalits, with the encouragement of Nehru and Gandhi. He invited Abbé Pierre to make his first trip to India in late December 1958. Abbé Pierre delivered a lecture to students at the Catholic universities and met with Nehru, who offered his support to the Emmaus volunteers. Over the same period, Dagny Arbman founded The Swallows in Sweden in 1959. In 1962, the group sent young volunteers to work in India with Father Ceyrac in the Cherian Nagar shantytown near Madras. Swallows in India, a voluntary organisation, was officially formed in 1965. Martine Savarimuthu, one of Father Ceyrac’s social work students, created the Village Community Development Society (VCDS) in 1984. VCDS campaigns for the civic and social rights of the Dalits and poor women, by raising awareness, training adults, educating children and providing microcredit.

Member organisations