HelpAge India came into being in 1978 with Cecil Jackson Cole, founder of HelpAge International (UK), as its first President. Around this time two other men figured prominently in the HelpAge India story – John F. Pearson and Samson Daniel.
|Cecil Jackson Cole
|John F. Pearson
Constant grants from the United Kingdom were something both Pearson and Cole felt would not be practical in the long run. They realized a regular inflow of funds was needed so that they could make a positive and lasting impact.
In March 1974, when Cole, visited India, an intrepid philanthropist named Samson Daniel approached him for financial help to set up a member organization in Delhi. A far-sighted man, Cole instead offered to train him to raise funds. After a three month training course in London, Mr. Daniel and his wife returned to India and organized a sponsored walk with schoolchildren in Delhi. It was so successful that in 1975 HelpAge International recruited more staff to cover Bombay, Madras and Calcutta.
In April 1978, HelpAge India was officially registered in Delhi and Pearson became a Trustee of the organisation and a key member of its Governing Board. One of the founder members of HelpAge International, Philip Jackson, joined HelpAge India the same year as its first Chief Executive.
Once financial support from the UK ceased, it took HelpAge India three months to become autonomous. Soon, the Society was awarded Certificates of Exemption under the Income Tax Act of 1961.
Two years later, Late Madan Mohan Sabharwal became an integral driving force of the HelpAge story. Sabharwal was a happily married man until tragedy stuck; at the age of 51, his wife died and left him a widower. Bereft, Sabharwal focussed his attention and many skills on the promotion of the cause of the aged. Soon, he took over as President of HelpAge India’s Governing Body, succeeding Pearson. Today, he is no longer with us, but he continues to be an inspiration and the spirit behind the elder cause.
What began as a humble initiative from a rented two-room office in New Delhi’s Kasturba Gandhi Marg, has now blossomed into an extensive operation spread across 26 states with headquartered at the capital’s Qutab Institutional Area.