Jagan Nath Kaul (13 October 1924 – 16 December 2008) was the founder, president, and patron of SOS Children's Village of India (SOS CVI). SOS CVI provides a home to almost 15,000 children in 34 children's villages, located in various parts of the country. In addition to the children's villages, SOS provides indirect care to children through its 122 allied projects such as kindergartens, schools and social, medical and vocational training centres throughout India. SOS CVI provides direct and indirect care to almost 200,000 (200,000) children in the country.
The 1963 meeting between Kaul and Gmeiner (who was visiting India to establish SOS Children's Villages there) was a meeting of the minds. Kaul identified completely with the SOS concept, and agreed to return to India and attempt to set up SOS Children's Villages there. He dedicated the rest of his life to caring for children, starting a movement when he established the first SOS Children's Village at Greenfields in Faridabad in 1968 with the active support of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The first SOS Children's Village in India Greenfields cared for over 200 children. After that, Kaul's mission was to bring succour to any child suffering due to man-made tragedies or natural disasters.
Kaul was village director of SOS Children's Village Greenfields from its beginning. He hoped to reach out to as many children in India as possible and to establish at least one SOS Children's Village in every province. As of 2011 India has 31 SOS Children's Villages, and 75 other projects. Kaul succeeded in involving thousands of Indians in fulfilling their social responsibilities towards children. A believer in partnership between government and the people, he did not hesitate to demand and stand up for the rights of children.
Kaul served SOS Children's Villages of India in various capacities, first as a village director and rising in position and responsibility as the organisation grew to the position of Secretary-General. From 1989 to July 2007, he was honorary president and patron of the national association. He also served two terms as Senator for SOS-Kinderdorf International. While Kaul received numerous awards for his efforts and commitment to the children of India (and is possibly the most-decorated social worker in India), his favourite reward was being lovingly called Papaji (revered father) by all in the SOS family.
Kaul succeeded in involving thousands of Indians in contributing to the cause of child protection, maintaining: "When we give a child a home, we are expressing our belief in life and the fundamental good in people". He was associated with various government and voluntary agencies involved in child care, in various capacities:
Senate, SOS Kinderdorf International (Austria)
Member, Expert Committee for Care and Rehabilitation of Destitute Children (government of India)
Member Executive Committee, Indian Council for Child Welfare
Vice President, Association for Social Health in India
Kaul received many awards and honours for his work:
Gold Medal of Honour: awarded in 1983 by Hermann Gmeiner (president, SOS-Kinderdorf International) at SOS Academy, Innsbruck (Austria) for dedication to the cause of needy children in India
Appreciation Award: presented in 1983 by the India Sponsorship Committee (Bombay)
Raja Ram Mohan Roy Teacher's Award (1984)
SOS Ring: for dedication to the SOS Children's Villages organisation through his life work, loyalty and attachment to the cause of needy children and women
Bal Sahyog Award (1986): for caring for needy children throughout India
Appreciation Award (1986): presented at the Symposium on Street Children, sponsored by Hogares Providencia IAP in Mexico
Rajiv Gandhi Manav Seva Award: presented for service to children on 14 November 1995 by Indian Minister for Human Resource Development Madhav Rao Scindia in New Delhi
Giani Zail Singh Sadbhawna Award: presented 4 May 1996 in New Delhi
G. D. Birla Award for Outstanding Contributions to Humanism (1995): presented by Indian Vice-President K. R. Narayanan 22 August 1996
Shiromani Award (1996): presented for contributions to national development, integration, enrichment of life and outstanding achievements in the chosen field of activity by Lok Sabha Speaker P. A. Sagma 22 February 1997 in New Delhi
Louis Marchesi Fellow Award: presented by Round Table 28 December 1997
Secular India Harmony Award (1998): presented by Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on behalf of the United Children's Movement 12 June 1999