RECLAIM Eastern Development Region Project

Nepal

The RECLAIM II project commenced in July 2017 following the conclusion of the successfully operated RECLAIM EDR project, which completed its five year cycle in June 2017. Implemented by the Nepal Leprosy Fellowship, RECLAIM works to develop communities in rural Nepal through the empowerment of people with disability (particularly as a result of leprosy), enabling them to lead discrimination-free, healthy and dignified lives, and to be agents of change.

Last year the RECLAIM project achieved the following key successes:
• Improved functional ability for 775 SHG members through the provision of assistive devices (e.g. wheelchairs, crutches) and increased prevention of disability (e.g. though protective shoes).
• 140 people received prevention of disability training.
• Over 200 members of SHGs have undertaken micro-finance training.
• Disability rights advocacy training provided to 3,373 SHG members.
• Community campaigns to educate people on water, hygiene and sanitation practices reached
4,748 people.

Project Outcome: Increased accessibility of public buildings enabling greater participation of people with disabilities in society

4,748 people were provided with education on safe water, hygiene and sanitation practices at a cost of 2,678 rupees/ AUD $52 per person, helping to promote health and dignity for people with disabilities.

Project Outcome: Increased empowerment and advocacy for community development

By supporting the RECLAIM project, you have contributed to lasting change in many Nepalese communities. For example, a group of 28 people affected by leprosy advocated for their community and obtained 800 saplings at no cost from the Nepali Government’s Forestry Office. The purpose of obtaining and planting these saplings was to support the ‘underground drinking water’ project the same group had established a couple of years earlier in response to the local water source drying up. The group had brainstormed ideas and pursued this project in order to create a plantation in a barren area to protect the underground water source. The tree plantation received support from the local community and government and a committee was formed to manage the plantation, including watering and weeding the established area. The efforts and unity of this group are a result of the work of the RECLAIM project in providing training and empowering people affected by leprosy and disability to advocate for their rights and work towards community improvement.

Project Outcome: Capacity of communities increased due to a range of training

Gopal, a 57-year-old man who lives in Jhapa District, Nepal, first developed signs of leprosy when he was in his early 20s. He lost sensation in his feet and developed wounds on the soles
of his feet which became infected. Members of his community realised he had leprosy and rejected him. The severe stigma he experienced eventually forced him to leave and he moved to Nagaland in India. There Gopal was able to obtain treatment and a 12 month course of MDT.
Gopal became a Christian, joined a church and eventually married and had children while in India. However, as he was concerned for his aging parents, Gopal and his family returned to his village in Nepal. Gopal joined a Self-Care Group (SCG) through the RECLAIM project and has learned about self-care as well as experiencing a feeling of unity as part of the SCG. Through the SCG, Gopal was able to start a small shop (selling snacks, tea, soap etc). Gopal reports that “I never thought I would have the opportunity to have my own business! The same people who used to refuse to talk to me, and told me to leave the village, now respect me. They even come and ask me for advice!”
Thanks to your support of the RECLAIM EDR project last year, 5,181 people participated in a variety of classes (including literacy, Prevention of Disability and microfinance training) at a cost of 2,371 rupees/ AUD $46 per person.

Australian Aid Supported by the Australian Government
The RECLAIM EDR Project II is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). Thanks to ANCP, this project is able to help improve the well-being of people affected by leprosy and disability in Nepal.
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The Leprosy Mission in Nepal

Leprosy remains a significant health problem in Nepal—a population where the majority of people are subsistence farmers. The leprosy-prevalence rate is 2.6 cases per 10,000 population (WHO, 2013), well above the World Health Organisation elimination target. Poverty, the stigma of leprosy, and poor access to healthcare all contribute to the high rate of leprosy.

The Leprosy Mission Australia has been working in partnership with the Nepali government since 1957, providing specialist leprosy care at Anandaban Hospital, which is also a centre for extensive leprosy research and treatment development.

In partnership with Leprosy Mission Nepal and Nepal Leprosy Fellowship (NLF), The Leprosy Mission Australia works in community empowerment, development, disability awareness and rehabilitation, and socio-economic rehabilitation in the Central Development and Eastern Development Regions of Nepal.

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