Soon after India’s independence, one of the biggest problems faced by the country was the scourge of leprosy. Many states had endemic population of leprosy affected people and there was no known cure or reliable treatment. Even after treatment they were treated as outcast and not given any employment. It was here that Dr. Paul Brand and the Swedish Red Cross thought that it was not enough to provide treatment alone, but they must be given an opportunity to earn a living and thus be active members of the society they live in. They stressed that the traditional activities recommended for those affected by leprosy, such as basket weaving, cloth weaving, pottery, candle making etc. are not suited for leprosy patients. It was decided that they should set up a modern engineering workshop to provide earning opportunity for the leprosy-cured persons. When the rehabilitation industry started functioning in 1963, it had to take an unbeaten path. There was no precedent in India, or elsewhere, wherein those affected by leprosy were given training in light engineering activities and employed to do production activities.
Mr. C. Antony Samy, the former Managing Director of WORTH Trust was given the most difficult job of implementing and taking forward the vision of WORTH Trust. With four leprosy-cured persons, Mr. Antony Samy's first responsibility was to choose the machines. With no fixed orders, it was a difficult mission. However, efforts were made to contact industries to give sub-contract work. So, general purpose machines were obtained. The first order came from EID Parry in the form of inlet fittings for western flushing system. In the meantime, precision machines were imported from Sweden, which was a big challenge at that point of time due to Government import restrictions. This gave a fillip to this rehabilitation workshop.
Thanks to effective medicine and treatment, the number of leprosy-cured people had diminished over the years and WORTH Trust started to focus on other areas like rehabilitation of polio affected people, followed by people with various forms of other disabilities and grew rapidly. Over the decades, WORTH Trust grown into what it is today, excelling in supply of quality products for major industries and making affordable aids and appliances for the differently-abled. With leprosy being effectively controlled nationwide, the Trust’s activities also focus on rehabilitating those who suffer from speech and hearing, orthopaedic and intellectual challenges.
WORTH Trust is a fully self-sustained rehabilitation organization. The production centres, which employ mostly persons with disabilities, enable them to generate a surplus, with which the entire cost of its technical training centre, school for speech and hearing impaired, early intervention centre for the speech and hearing impaired, day activity centre for the mentally challenged children and outreach activities are met. Registered as a charitable Trust, WORTH Trust is managed by a Board of Trustees constituted by eminent persons in diverse fields, united in their common interest in the service of persons with disabilities.
Dr Paul Brand