Rabiul, 8, answered the question "How are you?" without thinking: "Bad. I can't feel my hands and I can't eat by myself." (In India, they hold food with their fingers) "Leprosy is very bad. It has ruined everything."

But Rabiul was as happy a boy as any other child. His uncle recalls. He played and enjoyed everything. Then we noticed strange things. He had spots on his hands. Then his fingers became crooked. That's when it all came out..."

Rabiul stares at him with a stiff expression, a deep sadness on his distorted little face. His gaze tells his whole story without words. His father left the family because of illness and has given no sign of himself since. The little boy lives with his mother, his brother and his uncle Ibrahim's family. Their home is a tin shack. The mother earns some money from textile work. She is a hard-working woman. But they are very poor.

The pathogen broke not only Rabiul's body, but also his soul. He lost his father, his future, his hope. Although he has been treated with medication, which means his body is no longer infected, it will take a long time to repair the permanent damage. When it's better, I'll be able to play again," she says. He will also need hand surgery to regain the use of his fingers. Only then will it be possible to enrol him in school with the support of the Lepramissiio.

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On a ditch, on a bush

Through ditches, bushes, hills, valleys, rivers and ravines, our Congolese staff are on their way to carry out the leprosy screening programme we support.


Regular help

In our village and in the area, there was a very strong antipathy towards leprosy patients. The Leprosy Mission staff changed this with regular help.