We dream of a world without leprosy, where no one is diagnosed with leprosy or has to carry the stigma of the disease anymore. Usually, a leprosy diagnosis triggers fear and hatred in the community. It seems like a small thing, but we can make a difference by responding with love and kindness instead of fear and hatred.
The experience of illness is often unbearable because of the reaction of the environment. The Leprosy Society has been fighting to eradicate leprosy for nearly 150 years. In that time, we have heard the sad stories of many people with leprosy who have been plagued by fear and hatred because of their disease.
One such story is that of Sabita: "Today I can't describe my condition, but one thing I definitely missed was the love of my family. Although we were physically together, I felt lonely, like an orphan. That's why I can't find my place even today."
Mahendra experienced a similar ostracism: "When my father heard the word 'leprosy', he pushed me away, saying, 'Let him die - it's not worth living if he has leprosy.'"
Fultit was exiled to a cold cave and went to a nearby monastery to beg for food and clothes: "When I was alone, I wished I had someone to share my feelings with. I cried a lot."
The same happened to Amar, who lost all his friends when he was found to have leprosy. Fortunately for him, he received medical and friendly help at Ananda Hospital in Nepal, just like Fulti. The school inspector there listened to his sad story and wrote him a letter of recommendation to continue his studies. Amar is now an advocate for leprosy at the United Nations.
You can help to beat leprosy!
Your stand, alongside the support of governments and companies, will help to overcome the discrimination and stigma associated with leprosy. The above stories show that the problem could be alleviated with love and kindness. How many of the world's leprosy traumas could be eliminated with this simple but noble attitude?