Who We Work With
1. Leprosy affected people living in colonies.
Initially, we have decided to focus on leprosy affected people living in self settled colonies. These colonies are usually settlements that came up spontaneously either close to the leprosy hospitals or on public land near drains, railway lines or rivers. Some colonies were set up by government and by missionaries.
There are approximately 840 colonies that we know about. These are scattered across India. There is not geographical concentration thought some areas have larger number of colonies than others. These clusters usually form near religious or tourist towns or along river beds or in proximity of leprosy hospitals which were once the only place for treatment, till MDT was discovered.
Characteristics of those living in colonies
- Usually migrants – who have either moved out of their homes or have been thrown out on account of the social stigma
- Low education and literacy
- Poor – dependant on egging and donations for their daily needs
- Living conditions often very poor – poor sanitation, poor health, poor infrastructure…
- Low exposure to outside world
- Children are often first time school goers – and face stigma even in the government schools they go to.
- Low self-esteem; self-stigma
Poverty combined with stigma renders them marginalized even among the marginalized.
2. Leprosy affected people and their families.
Their families are included as they also face the same social stigma even though the family members do not have leprosy. Access to good education/ dignified income opportunities for children of leprosy affected people is limited on account of poverty, discrimination and stigma. Many family members, who do not have leprosy also end up living in leprosy colony and depending on begging when denied for education, jobs and habitation outside leprosy colonies.