History of GLRA India

The Beginnings

In the wake of identifying leprosy as a major health problem and the indelible scars it has left on its victims, many Health NGOs from all over the world spread their wings of support to the suffering millions in India. German Leprosy Relief Association occupied centre stage in treating people affected by leprosy. It was also involved in social and economic rehabilitation of the cured patients.

William Adolphus Gershon (1933-1998)

In 1957, the founder, Mr. William Adolphus Gershon made a representation to Germany to initiate Leprosy work in India. Mr. Hermann Kober, President of the then German Leprosy Relief Association (DAHW, Germany) considered the possibility of carrying out leprosy work in India and later went on to make concrete plans.

As early as 1960 an extensive expansion in voluntary services for leprosy patients occurred in India. Mr Kober had received several request letters from various parts of the world and he sought the help of Mr Gershon to translate these letters.

Mr Gershon’s dedication won him the title of Regional Secretary of GLRA – India and in 1966 he assumed office. A long association with leprosy work thus made its beginnings. In November 1966, Mr. William Gershon assumed office as Regional Secretary of GLRA – India. During his tenure, he pursued leprosy work as one would a religious doctrine. In 1973 German Leprosy Relief Association (GLRA-India) became the Co-ordinating Secretariat for India & Srilanka.  Mr Gershon was integral to the development of GLRA India into an ideal voluntary organization serving the cause of people affected by leprosy. GLRA India was subsequently registered as Public Charitable Trust (Reg. No. 255/92 Dt. 12.02.1992).

william history2
herman history1
Hermann Kober (1924-1998)

Mr Kober, President, then German Leprosy Relief Association, was a man whose life was dedicated to the cause of leprosy and is a name well known among patients and social workers in the field. His life stands out as an example of selfless service to mankind. A journalist by profession, he was instrumental in the formation of the ILEP, the International Federation of Anti Leprosy Associations. He used his journalism to reach out to the world and keep people informed of leprosy the disease and its many debilitating consequences.