In 15 October 1920, French Jesuit Missionaries of Madurai Province started the Society of St. Francis Xavier at Palayamkottai with the aim of providing quality education to the people, especially the poor and the marginalized sections. The Jesuit trio responsible for founding the society were Reverend fathers Mahe, Lebeau and Bonhoure. Their zeal created a tradition of universal service based on humanism. Fr. Albert Lebeau, who had come from Belgium, was a man of tremendous energy and he was endowed with many social virtues. Reverend fathers Causannel, Dhanasamy, Gnanapragasam, also played leading roles in early development of the Society.
STAND (Student Training and Action for Neighbourhood Development) the brain child of the Society of St. Francis Xavier, Palayamkottai works with the mission to ensure justice through equity and access, to include the excluded for empowerment, to engage in relevant research activities and to promote LAB TO LAND programmes.
STAND is a unique village adoption programme where the society converges with government and corporate sectors and other NGOs to achieve Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) namely, no poverty, good health and wellbeing, quality education, gender equality, clean water & sanitation, affordable & clean energy, reduced inequalities, climate action, life on land and life on water through tangible rural development programmes
During the last five years, STAND has worked in 45 villages of which about 60% of the people are marginalized and downtrodden. Around 9,880 village people are benefitted. As a mark of silver Jubilee of STAND unit, ‘WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS NETWORK’ was implemented.