About Us

Started in the year 1966, GLRA-India has been serving the cause of leprosy for more than 50 years. Initially started to help leprosy victims in India, GLRA has expanded its domain of operations to serve those affected by tuberculosis (TB), disabilities, and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) apart from helping victims of natural disasters, from time to time.

GLRA-India, which today spearheads voluntary work on leprosy and tuberculosis (TB), had its modest but strong-willed beginnings in the year 1966. But the real work had started much before that.

Our Founder, Mr. William Adolphus Gershon, popularly known as Willy, graduated from the famous Victoria College, Palakkad, Kerala. He was trained in leprosy rehabilitation work from Gandhi Memorial Leprosy Foundation, Wardha, Maharashtra, and joined an anti-leprosy project in Chilakkalapally in then Andhra Pradesh as a field supervisor. It was during this time that Mr. Gershon witnessed the sufferings of those affected by leprosy. Most of these persons were destitute, with no awareness or understanding of their condition. Further, the disease caused physical deformity which not only made them financially dependent but also caused social stigma leading them to being community outcasts.

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Mr. William Adolphus Gershon

Our Founder, Mr. William Adolphus Gershon, popularly known as Willy, graduated from the famous Victoria College, Palakkad, Kerala. He was trained in leprosy rehabilitation work from Gandhi Memorial Leprosy Foundation, Wardha, Maharashtra, and joined an anti-leprosy project in Chilakkalapally in then Andhra Pradesh as a field supervisor. It was during this time that Mr. Gershon witnessed the sufferings of those affected by leprosy. Most of these persons were destitute, with no awareness or understanding of their condition. Further, the disease caused physical deformity which not only made them financially dependent but also caused social stigma leading them to being community outcasts.

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Mr. Herman Kober

In 1964, Mr. William moved to Germany to work as a volunteer, at a centre for care of persons with physical disabilities. It is here that he met Mr. Herman Kober, the then President of German Leprosy Relief Association (DAHW, Germany). In Mr. Kober, he found a champion for the cause of leprosy. This is when Mr. Gershon made a representation to Germany to initiate anti-leprosy work in India and Mr. Kober not only considered the possibility of carrying out the anti-leprosy work but also used his journalistic prowess to bring the dreaded disease to the attention of the world.

In the year 1966, the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Association (ILEP) was founded in Switzerland in which Mr. Kober played a key role along with other like-minded world leaders in the fight against leprosy. The formation of ILEP gave a fillip to GLRA and it has been an active member of the Association ever since its formation.

Over the past 5 decades it has been our constant endeavour to provide medical and social rehabilitation to those affected by leprosyand tuberculosis (TB). As our work evolved, we have also expanded our ambit of operation to include those affected by NTD, disabilitiesof any kind, and natural disasters. Further, to overcome the regional and vernacular barriers in a country like India, and ensure services to the affected populations in remote areas, we have partnered with 24 NGOs, across 14 states of India, and implemented 9 direct initiatives. Through our multi-pronged approach we ensure that the affected not only find medical rehabilitation but also find social acceptance as the social stigma associated with these diseases is very high.