Neelam is a shy girl living in a remote village in India, not far from a Leprosy Mission hospital. Her brother Mohan told us her story…
Their dad passed away. Mohan (who is in his early twenties) looks after his mother and five siblings, as well as a young family of his own.
He told us that when Neelam had a fever they took her to a local healer. Then she started getting pains in her arm. They thought that the local healer must have given her this trouble, but local doctors did not recognise the signs of leprosy either.
Fortunately, her grandfather recognised the signs of the clawed hand. He had leprosy many years ago. So they took Neelam to The Leprosy Mission hospital. She received reconstructive surgery there and returned home.
Unfortunately Neelam experienced much rejection in her village. Fellow students teased her and even the teacher asked her lots of questions about her hand.
Village children wouldn’t play with her and called her a ‘leper’. NB: TLMA CONDEMNS THE USE OF THE DEROGATORY TERM ‘LEPER’.
Her community benefits from ongoing advocacy, livelihoods and stigma work across four states. It’s implemented by The Leprosy Mission Trust India (nationally) and Brighter Futures. And supported by the European Commission and people just like you. Mohan is hopeful the advocacy and stigma work will help to overturn the stigma of leprosy. He told us, “There is (still) a need to inform the general community not to mock people with leprosy!”. He explained that when people are educated about leprosy they don’t mock.
Praise God for the ongoing advocacy work in India overturning the stigma of leprosy.
Inspired by her hospital stay, Neelam now dreams of working in the medical field. Please pray Neelam will experience life in all its fullness.