Wellesley Bailey Award: Meet the overcomers who are the recipients of the award this year

Photo credit: TLM International

At the Wellesley Bailey Award Gala Night, held in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, on Friday, September 21, 2018, two remarkable persons affected by leprosy – Kofi Nyarko, from Ghana and Birke Nigatu Teka, from Ethiopia – were presented with the ninth Wellesley Bailey Award.

Wellesley Bailey Award was instituted in 1999 to celebrate the life and work of Wellesley Cosby Bailey, founder of The Leprosy Mission. Once in two years, this unique award is presented to two individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to society, overcoming the social stigma and physical challenges of leprosy.

Read below to know how Kofi Nyarko and Birke Nigatu Teka challenged the consequences of leprosy to make life easier for people affected by leprosy in their respective countries:

Diagnosed with leprosy at 10, Kofi Nyarko was forced to live alone facing severe stigma and discrimination due to leprosy. After overcoming many challenges, he completed his graduation and started a programme to reunite persons isolated in leprosy colonies to their families. Since the programme began, Kofi has helped 861 people return to their homes.

Read the full version of Kofi Nyarko’s amazing story here:

Birke Nigatu Teka was diagnosed with leprosy when she was around six. She experienced terrible violence and discrimination, but a woman of great grit, guts, and gumption, Birke overcame the challenges of leprosy to start the Addis Ababa Women Leprosy Patients Association. With her advocacy, she is making Ethiopia a better place for people affected by leprosy.

Read the full version of Birke Nigatu Teka’s incredible story here:

Kofi Nyarko and  Birke Nigatu Teka are remarkable persons, aren’t they? The Leprosy Mission Trust India salutes these great overcomers who carved out a niche for themselves challenging the hurdles of leprosy. They are a great encouragement to the ‘leprosy champions’ being developed by TLMTI – to continue the fight against leprosy even when stigma builds walls around them to confine them to live isolated lives bereft of dignity and equality.