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The Leprosy Mission
At Organic Stories we are proud to be partnering with and supporting The Leprosy Mission who are breaking the chains of leprosy and empowering people to attain healing, dignity and live their lives to the fullest.
Have you ever been rejected by your family, sacked from your job, or denied education because of an illness? This is the daily reality of people affected by leprosy. Every two minutes another person finds out they have leprosy. Someone just like you. A mother, husband, brother, daughter. Every two minutes another person goes through the trauma of discovering they have this disease and fear of what it might do to them or their family.
Thanks to the support of Organic Stories by SIGHTMODE Ltd, Shivkumari has now enrolled to the class. She is excited to learn about dressmaking and even more happy to know that one-day she will be able to help her mother and bring food to the table by making and selling clothes for money.
Shivkumari was 2 years old when her mum noticed discoloured skin patches and the struggle for her daughter to lift her left leg. She was diagnosed with leprosy and although she received treatment for the disease, the leprosy bacteria slowly damaged her leg nerves meaning she would have a lifelong disability.
Today she is all grown up, she has managed her disability through childhood and teenage years only noticing she does not walk or run like others her age. Sadly, her father passed away in her teenage years, leaving behind her mother and four siblings. Living in a village in India there are limited work opportunities available to her mother and two older brothers, so any work they found they would take on. Being poor is hard, you have no idea where the next meal will come from, let alone how the day will pass without thinking ‘why me, why am I in this place’.
When moments of happiness come, they last only a few minutes. Happiness came to Shivkumari when her two older brothers and elder sister married but, in an instance, sadness follows, as her brothers left the home they all shared and separated from the family. Shivkumari, her mother and her younger brother are all alone now. Struggling even more to find money for food.
A glimpse of hope comes to Shivkumari’s attention, she has heard of a community training centre in the next village. They offer opportunities for community sewing classes, to train to become a seamstress and how to open a business.
She is the eldest of three daughters to leprosy affected parents. Sadly, two years ago her father suddenly passed away, leaving Kavita, her sisters and mum with an uncertain future of how they will manage and what about her education and dreams of becoming someone with a good job. There was no choice left, uncertain of how to find any financial support, Kavita’s family had to leave their village, their childhood home, friends and even the beloved small village school. They have had to move thousands of miles away to live with Kavita’s uncle. With the help of her Uncle her mum found work, but it has meant working away for days in farming and sending money back to the girls.
Kavita’s uncle asked her what she wanted to do – work or go to school. She said school and with the money he received from her mother and some of his own wage he has supported the Kavita and her sister’s education. Kavita has completed her 10th grade at school, but now what. They have no money to pay for the fees to go into higher learning. Many schools may even reject her once they know her mum has had leprosy. Kavita does not want to stop her sisters learning, this is their life to. Her mum is earning as much as she can to feed, clothe and provide schoolbooks for the girls.
She tells her uncle she stills want to learn so that she can get a better job to help her mum. Through local friends they learn about a Vocational Training Centre (VTC) nearby. They offer educational classes and training skills to help people affected or indirectly affected by leprosy to find work. The courses are either run in the local community or in the Centre for more specialist programs, usually for a year.
Thanks to the fundraising support from Organic Stories by SIGHTMODE Ltd, Kavita has been accepted to the VTC to study Computer Operator and Programming Assistant – IT course. She is excited about using computers and looking forward to build a future for her family.