People affected by leprosy can be prevented from working and earning a living because of stigma in the local community or a disability as a result of leprosy. Excluded from their community, they lack support and have limited capacity to learn about and access their rights and entitlements or to apply for bank loans. Regular and assured income through sustainable livelihood activities (i.e. activities to earn a living which maintain a consistent quality of life) enable people affected by leprosy to work their way out of poverty and provide a secure future for their children.
Community Based Rehabilitation and Self Care
We work with communities to build their understanding of leprosy and disabilities and their capacity to support people with leprosy or with general disabilities. Our Self Care Groups (SCG) teach people with leprosy about the way the disease causes disabilities and the different techniques and self-care activities for preventing them. SCGs also build awareness on disability rights, reunite people affected by leprosy with their families and offer a forum for people affected by leprosy to meet, share experience, discuss issues, build solidarity and support each other.
Low Cost Housing
Secure shelter is a necessity but in the poorest areas of India, where leprosy is most prevalent, many people cannot afford adequate shelter or gain a loan from the bank to build a shelter. We support people affected by leprosy to build secure houses in their communities. They must already own the plot of land where the house will be built and contribute a percentage of the building cost through an in-kind donation (e.g. building materials) or labour. In return we provide technical expertise (e.g. construction designs, supervision of construction etc) and fund the capital costs of the construction.
Self Help Groups
Our Self Help Groups (SHGs) build both the social and economic capacity of people affected by leprosy. Members attend skill building workshops and training on money management. Community savings are encouraged to pool their financial capital to be used for micro credit. They are also educated about their rights and entitlements and encouraged to participate in local and state level advocacy with the government in collaboration with other SHGs. One of our projects specifically works with skilled artisans with disabilities to enhance their skills and access government services and form advocacy networks. SHGs also provide a forum for people affected by leprosy to share their experiences and support each other and receive training on other positive practices such as preventative healthcare.