National meet: #ChampionsForZeroLeprosy

NEW DELHI: The Leprosy Mission Trust India (TLMTI), over the last few years, developed over 240 Champions (persons affected by leprosy) who have overcome the challenges of leprosy to champion the cause of people affected by leprosy, from across the country.

TLMTI, through its CREATE project, organised a 2-day national meet of the Champions in New Delhi, from November 27-28, 2018. A total of 35 Champions from six states of India took part in the meet, where they shared their achievements, challenges, and learning.

Experts in the field of health, advocacy, human rights, legislation/policy, awareness/communication, disability, community development, and related areas, like Dr Anil Kumar, Deputy Director General, Central Leprosy Division, Government of India; Dr Satendra Singh, Disability Rights Defender; Mr Arman Ali, Executive Director, NCPEDP (National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People –; Ms Rati Misra, NCPEDP; Ms Smita Singh, Senior Project Manager, European Union; Dr Mary Verghese, Executive Director, TLMTI; Mr Pradeep Bagival, Head of Advocacy, TLM International; Ms Nikita Sarah, Head of Advocacy and Communication, TLMTI; and Ms Tina Mendis, Head of Sustainable Livelihood and Community Empowerment, TLMTI, interacted with the Champions and spoke to them on various issues.

The Champions, at the end of the meet, chalked out their future course of action for raising general awareness about leprosy to end the stigma associated with leprosy and social inclusion of people affected by leprosy. They also drew up a plan to advocate for repealing laws discriminating against people affected by leprosy.

“This is the first time such a motivated and determined group of Champions from across the country come together with a resolve to jointly eradicate leprosy. We have great hopes in them. They are the real change makers,” says Nikita Sarah.

More pictures of the event here: