Disenfranchised children

The story of Prasanti and Ranil

Sri Lanka, Sina Urani village, near Batticloa. The mother, Prasanti, is 30 years old, and her son Ranil is 4. She lives with her brother and parents as she cannot afford her own place. Prasanti was diagnosed with leprosy in 2018, and so was the little boy. Before that, Prasani had no idea he had leprosy and thought he had some other disease. But his family members knew all the more about it because his mother's family had a history of leprosy.

Prasanti's nose and mouth were paralysed, and several insensitive spots appeared on his body.He was right to decide to see a doctor ! After both of them were found to be leprosy infected, Prasanti was very distressed and very scared. He knew the stigma and exclusion associated with leprosy in their community ! He became terrified for himself and his child. Earlier, he would just get dizzy and vomit sometimes. But ever since the diagnosis became known, people have turned away from him, moved away from him on the bus, feared him. So she doesn't even use public transport for fear of being stigmatised. Her husband is by her side, but because she works away from home, Prasanti is alone a lot.

He says that it is somewhat easier now, but at the beginning it was very difficult to cope with exclusion.

When her son was diagnosed with leprosy, he was only 3 years old! He could not be sent to kindergarten because of the stigma. The kindergarten wouldn't even have accepted him! Prasanti says that the health authorities should give much more information to the public. Excluding and stigmatising a child is the most ruthless thing! They deprive children of what is their basic right: the right to play, to learn, to thrive, to grow up without worries.

Little Ranil has infection spots on his face and legs. Prasanti also regularly checks the movement of the child's limbs to prevent permanent nerve damage.

Prasani has another child who has undergone a leprological screening. The mother is very afraid of getting infected. Therefore, little Ranil has separate dishes (although this would not be justified! Ed.) The small family has also received nutritious non-perishable food from the leprosy service. "You saved us from starvation! You gave us water! We are very grateful to you!" - says Prasanti to the donors.

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