Red Cross Society was formed in the Geneva Convention of 1864. The experiences of Mr. Jean Henri Dunant, a Young Swiss businessman, in the battle field at solferino, Italy where the Franco Austrian war was occurred in 1859, made him to publish the book “Memory of Solferino”. The touching experience of Henri Dunant which was narrated in the book raised the conscience of the heads of nations and resulted in convening the Geneva Convention of 1864, which established the International Red Cross Movement. As an honor for the country Switzerland and the originator of the idea, Henri Dunant, the Geneva Convention of 1864 selected the emblem of the movement by reversing the Swiss national flag (Red Cross white background instead of white cross in red background).Lady, Clara Burton made the organization as today. Today Red Cross society is ready to help the people who are suffering from earthquake, flood, fire, natural calamities etc.


Indian Red Cross Society was formed under Parliament Act XV of 1920. The President of India is the President of the Indian Red Cross Society. The Secretary General is the Chief Executive of the Society. The President of the State Branch is the Governor of the state. At the District Level the President is District Collector. The Chairman is the Chief Executive of the branch.


The formation and development of the Indian Red Cross Society, Ernakulam District Branch were closely related to the Historical development in the state and changes from the rule of Maharaja to the system of democracy. The Red Cross Society was formed in the erstwhile Cochin state with the initiative of Sir George Bogue, the Diwan of Cochin and under the patronage of the Maharaja of Cochin in 1944.

Even after the formation of Travancore Cochin State and subsequent development of Kerala State, the branch had been functioning up to 1960 under the banner as Cochin Branch. The former Maharaja of Cochin H.H Rama Varma continued to be the patron and he nominated the chairman every year. The superintendent of the General Hospital Ernakulam was the Hon. Secretary

During 1960 the bye law was amended in line with the central bye laws. The same year the Trichur District Branch was formed and consequently got itself separated from Cochin Branch. In 1961 District Collector and District Medical Officer took charge as the ex- officio President and Hon. Secretary respectively, and on formation of Ernakulam district named the branch as Ernakulam District Branch. The programmes of the society used to be finalized in the Executive Committee meeting and the office was functioning as a part of the office of District Medical Officer (Health)

In 1996, the bye law was amended and a popular Managing Committee was constituted with Shri V.P Joy, District Collector as the ex-officio President, District Medical officer as the ex-officio Vice President and Smt Retnakala S Menon – Vice President (elected) Shri Joseph J Palakkapilly as Hon. Secretary, Adv.V.D Balakrishna Kartha –Hon. Treasurer, Shri Jose Francis- JRC Secretary, and seven committee members, The committee organized Taluk branches also. In 2011 the bye laws were revised as directed by the Central Committee .The new Managing Committee was constituted with District Collector as its President and District Medical Officer(Health) as Vice president,18 committee members & Taluk Branch representatives.The Chairman,Vice Chairman and Hon.Treasurer were elected from committee members.

Apart from the above subcommittees such as Disaster Mitigation Committee, Health Committee, Finance Committee, Junior Red Cross Committee, Youth Red Cross Committee were also formed.


Programmes and Services

Since the society was formed during World War II, the programmes in forties were to mitigate the sufferings of the victims of war and welfare of ex service men. In the decades of fifties and sixties the society took initiative to distribute food items, blankets etc. to deserving people who were suffering with poverty and natural disaster. The distributions were arranged through various social agencies in the field.

In 1961 the Executive Committee decided to have a building with Blood Bank at General Hospital Ernakulam. A Committee was constituted with Dr. K.G Thanakamma , District Medical Officer as the Secretary, Shri M K K Nair, Shri Joseph Chakola, Dr Urumese and Smt. Ambadi Karthiyayiani Amma were the members. In May 1962 the building was inaugurated by His Excellency Shri V.V Giri, the then Governor of Kerala. The Society handed over the building to the General Hospital Ernakulam for the Blood Bank. By a Government order, the Indian Red Cross Society was permitted to use the first floor of the building for its programmes and functions.

In 1973 when Chellanam village was struck by sea erosion, which destroyed hundreds of house holds leaving thousands homeless, the society could manage the support of the International Red Cross Society to rebuild the village. The timely relief action was appreciated by the Government. Smt.Ratnakala S Menon who was in charge of the project was honoured with National Award by the President of India.