The question haunted them many days badgering their every waking hour. “Why us, why us,” they asked themselves a thousand times!
The Leprosy Mission Trust India’s PARTI (Partnerships, Advocacy, Research and Training towards Inclusion) project staff had done a good deal of leprosy awareness programmes in Vadakkupalayam village in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu. After this, the project set up an information centre and an early intervention centre in the village to help people get timely help when they confront leprosy.
15-year-old Pankaj would often look at his right foot and ask himself why his ulcer did not heal. He has seen many doctors in his native village in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. Their ointments and antibiotics did not work, rather his ulcer got worse. He often sat by himself as he could not go out and play.
Imagine sitting at home without a job despite being a graduate, shunned by neighbours and friends, and with no confidence to carry on with life – all because you have a physical disability.
26-year-old Mamta Gulabrao Kubade had no hope in life. She had met with an accident when she was eight years old, and that left her leg burnt. It resulted in deformity in her lower limb. Despite her disability, she completed her graduation. Job opportunities were rare and she had no confidence to seek out one. Confined to her home in Kothara village of Maharashtra, her days were dreary and nights insomnious. Her self-esteem plummeted to a new low every day.
Rajah Muthiah Medical College, Chidambaram, Cuddalore district, Tamil Nadu, along with The Leprosy Mission Trust India’s (TLMTI) Partnership, Advocacy, Research, Training towards Inclusion (PARTI) project organised a continuing medical education (CME) lecture and workshop on current trends in medical rehabilitation in leprosy, for physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses, and postgraduate medical students in physical medicine and rehabilitation, in Chidambaram, on December 6.
“It was always my dream to teach grown-up people, especially women, because I felt women should have access to education as it empowers them to live on their own. That’s why I was thrilled when The Leprosy Mission Trust India’s (TLMTI) WEALTH project asked me whether I could teach women in the adult literacy class the project was planning to start in my village. Before my association with TLMTI, my identity was that of a daughter-in-law and I was confined to the four walls of my home. If I had to go out, someone from my family had to accompany me,” shares Pushpalata while introducing herself.