When you have leprosy or a disability and live in poverty, your future job prospects are slim. In fact, you may lose your job because of the stigma of leprosy, or the disease may leave you unable to use your hands or walk properly. Not only that, your children may also have trouble finishing school because your livelihood is gone and you cannot pay for books and uniforms.
That’s where the Vadathorasalur Vocational Training Centre (VTC) in Tamil Nadu makes a difference. With the help of our donors, The Leprosy Mission Australia has re-committed funding support of this life-changing centre.
Here are the stories of two people whose futures have been impacted by this training centre.
Gajeddiran has a cool future thanks to our supporters
Gajeddiran was 15 when he noticed patches on his skin. Diagnosed with leprosy, he took Multi-Drug Therapy and the patches went away – but his hands had already begun to claw. It meant he couldn’t lift things or travel alone on his motorbike any more. This also seriously impacted his future prospects of work.
Gajeddiran had reconstructive surgery on his hands. He began learning how to fix air-cooling systems through the air conditioning course at the Vocational Training Centre. Now he has a job in Chennai as an airconditioning technician! It was a job he never thought he’d have.
“I want to say thanks to those who support The Leprosy Mission in Australia. Without The Leprosy Mission, I couldn’t have had surgery and would never have received vocational training.
“My goal is not just to be a mechanic, but to employ others… one day I would like to employ graduates from the Vocational Training Centre.”
Kannan doesn’t have to lose his future because his mum had leprosy
Kannan’s mother used to be a farmer. But leprosy caused both her hands to claw so she was unable to work. Now 22, Kannan is so thankful for the chance he got to train as a mechanic.
“To Australian donors I would like to say God bless you… Due to my mother having leprosy, and the hardship this brought upon my family, I was eligible to join the Vocational Training Centre. Without the help of The Leprosy Mission, I would never have been able to afford this training. I learned about motor coiling, repairing transformers and repairing underground cables, as well as life skills.
“Now I am working as a supervisor earning $200 per month (10,000RS) in the electrical industry. In the future, I want to earn more money, become an entrepreneur and help my mother.”
Kannan’s future could have been very different. He could have been one of many young people with no prospects. All because their leprosy-affected parents could not keep them in school.
Instead, Kannan has a job he loves and wants to help others affected by leprosy.
If you would like to learn more about this project, click here.