Joseph Rural Development Trust (JRDT) was formed in January 2005 by Mr. M.P. Arokiaraj (Managing Trustee) and Mr. R Wheeler (Honorary Director), who met by chance through the common ground of disaster relief work after the tsunami, which hit the eastern coast of Tamil Nadu, India on Boxing Day 2004.
Initially Mr. Arokiaraj was already working voluntarily with another organization undertaking such tasks as post-tsunami survey work and immediate relief work for the ( ) of affected people, who’s homes and livelihoods were destroyed in the catastrophe. Through this he progressed with dedication to the position of Coordinating Manager, which involved amongst other things, the setting up of night schools for surviving children, too traumatized to attend regular schooling. Mr. Arokiaraj is native to Tamil Nadu, he is a graduate of M.A. in Economics at Madras University Non Member Board of Studies. He was also invited to Germany to undertake many courses offered by JRDT who trained him in First Aid, Disabled Transport, Paramedic Service, "Meals on Wheels" and Youth Work. He lives in and works on the JRDT Orphanage along with his wife Anitha.
Mr. Robert Wheeler was also involved with a charitable organization undertaking tsunami relief work in winter 2004/2005 near Mahabalipuram on the east coast of Tamil Nadu, India. When in January 2005 he met with Mr.Arokiaraj, the idea for starting JRDT was already there and through collaboration they pulled together to form the Trust and take work forward independently. He is a graduate with a Bsc Anthropology Degree, Qualifications in Counselling, and has attended courses at degree level in Human Psychology and Third World Development.
JRDT has risen from its roots, helping communities in emergency and crisis situations towards getting themselves back to normal life, to its current status of working with rural communities to help raise their standard of living financially, hygienically, socially and educationally on a day to day basis towards a more self-sustained and prosperous future.
JRDT is a non-profit, Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that seeks funding and support from both charitable (National and International) and Governmental sources. JRDT work in collaboration with other organizations, trusts and corporations, and are open to and have a history of working with all social and religious groups of society. JRDT is made up of a network of workers from the core founders and those involved in day to day operations within the immediate community to volunteers, philanthropic supporters and of course well needed sponsors and charitable funds raisers.