Four decades ago, in the winter of l971, a young couple, Vijayan and Premila Pavamani, felt deeply constrained to be of service to the distressed and suicidal in the teeming metropolis of Kolkata. They trusted God and in a step of faith placed an advertisement in the Statesman Newspaper inviting people in distress to either telephone them or come to their home in the compound of the St. Paul’s Cathedral.

The next day they were overwhelmed when over 60 people from various strata of society turned up.   Everyone was warmly welcomed with a cup of tea and each one received empathetic listening. To the surprise of the couple, most of them not only went back helped and comforted but also came back to volunteer their services for others in need. It was a small window to the city opening a cross section of human problems that only confirmed the need for such a service.

Over the next few years, as The Calcutta Samaritans grew, Vijayan and Premila founded The Arunoday Midway Home in 1978, the first residential rehabilitation centre for recovering addicts and alcoholics in India, and the Calcutta Emmanuel school – a free school for the poorest children who cannot even dream of education.

In 1985, they founded Emmanuel Ministries Calcutta as an umbrella organization to host projects that fight poverty and social injustice.

EMC works in close partnership with its sister organizations: The Calcutta Samaritans, Arunoday Midway Home and The Calcutta Emmanuel School.

On August 20th, 2006, Vijayan Pavamani tragically passed away at The St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, Maryland, USA. His demise was a devastating loss to his family and colleagues and all who knew him. But his infectious compassion and selflessness to help people in need has now also become the core belief of the workers and leaders of EMC. Premila, the co-founder, is now designated as Executive Director of EMC.