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Keith Skillicorn - TLM Hero

An older couple look at the camera with their arms around each other outside a brick building

After studying for four years in a theological seminary and serving as an electrical technician in the Royal Australian Air Force, Keith travelled to India with his wife Ruth in 1951 in order to serve as a missionary in community development, adult literacy, and leprosy control.

During the 31 years Keith served in India, he established the “Agricultural Community Development Project”, an indigenous NGO that gained registration under the Societies Act of 1860.

From 1976 to 1982 Keith and Ruth carried out deputation work for The Leprosy Mission Australia (TLMA) based out of Victoria, and in 1982 they were appointed to the position first of Administrator and then Project Director with the HEED program in Bangladesh, a project of The Leprosy Mission.

Following his retirement in 1988, Keith continued to visit India annually, working for the people of India, doing his best to ensure that those in need are taken care of. All of Keith’s magnificent work led to both him and his late wife, Ruth receiving the Award of Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1988 due to their Management of Leprosy and Agricultural Development in India and Bangladesh.

Keith carried on reaching out to people affected by leprosy – or those who thought they may have leprosy – via the Internet, that they may be expertly diagnosed by leprosy trained doctors in their part of the world.

In 2000 Keith and Ruth were appointed as Life Members of TLMA in recognition of 49 years of service both overseas and in Australia as volunteers for people affected by leprosy.

In 2012, Ernest Keith Skillicorn reached the state level (South Australia), as a finalist in the “Senior Australian of the Year” award.

Their story is told in their book “The Making of a Miracle” published in 1982.