Lepra

Women = Change: Empowering women to beat leprosy

Over 3 million people are living with leprosy, unable to access the cure due to fear or lack of knowledge. Untreated, leprosy causes terrible disabilities, destroying lives, and women are affected the most. Female health champions can remove gender barriers and ensure women receive treatment.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from 12:00 PM, 28 November 2017 to 12:00 PM, 5 December 2017

Registered Charity in England and Wales (213251)

Check mark Match funded

Campaign target

£20,000

Amount raised

£29,098

Donations

229

  • When I was diagnosed with leprosy my husband sent my son away from home to make sure he didn‚Äôt get the disease. I couldn‚Äôt even touch my own son. I am very grateful to Lepra for their support.

    — Fatema ‚Äì a Lepra Community champion

  • I felt like I was going to die. For three years, I hid the disease from everyone. But my neighbours and family found out and would not speak to me anymore. Lepra has taught me how to care for my feet. I can earn a living again

    — Mosammad Rasheda Begum

  • Within the last three years Lepra has helped me in a variety of ways. They have given me valuable physiotherapy, padded shoes, self-care education, education for group management and livelihood training.

    — Nilu Bala

  • When I was diagnosed with leprosy my husband sent my son away from home to make sure he didn’t get the disease. I couldn’t even touch my own son. I am very grateful to Lepra for their support.

    — Fatema – a Lepra Community champion

  • I felt like I was going to die. For three years, I hid the disease from everyone. But my neighbours and family found out and would not speak to me anymore. Lepra has taught me how to care for my feet. I can earn a living again

    — Mosammad Rasheda Begum

  • Within the last three years Lepra has helped me in a variety of ways. They have given me valuable physiotherapy, padded shoes, self-care education, education for group management and livelihood training.

    — Nilu Bala

Situation

The stigma surrounding leprosy means those affected face horrific discrimination. This burden is particularly felt by women, exacerbating existing gender inequality. They are left vulnerable to abandonment, abuse and separation from their children. Cultural barriers in Bangladesh prevent women seeing a male doctor alone; fearing the consequences of a relative discovering their condition, they hide their symptoms. This leaves women at increased risk of life-changing disabilities and prejudice.

Solution

To break down these cultural barriers, we train female community champions to recognise early signs of leprosy, and other diseases such as lymphatic filariasis, in women in their community. They refer women for diagnosis and treatment as well as follow up with home visits to offer support with self-care techniques that help reduce disabilities. Our community champions have often been affected by leprosy and so can reduce the stigma surrounding the disease through awareness raising campaigns.