SHCD Project

SHGs towards Holistic Community Development

The problem

India contributes 60% of the global leprosy burden, with over 1.5 million people living with leprosy-related disability. The state of Chhattisgarh is a leprosy endemic state with a high leprosy prevalence rate of 2.95/10,000 population. There are 34 leprosy colonies in Chhattisgarh, where many people with leprosy live in abject poverty. Many resort to begging for livelihood. Cases of discrimination against people affected by leprosy are rampant. They experience high levels of stigma and discrimination because of the popular misconceptions about leprosy. This has resulted in their continued exclusion from mainstream society and violation of their human rights at multiple levels. Limited knowledge of their rights, coupled with self-stigma, impacts their ability to challenge the existing injustice, and raise their voice on issues that affect them.

How the project aims to address these problems

The Leprosy Mission Trust India’s SHGs towards Holistic Community Development (SHCD) project aims at building the capacity of self-help groups (SHGs) and cooperative societies in five districts of Chhattisgarh where the project is being implemented. People affected by leprosy and other disabilities are the primary members of these SHGs and cooperatives.  They are capacitated so that they can challenge and address the issues of stigma and discrimination. The project simultaneously sensitises schools, community,  disabled peoples organisations (DPOs) and Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) to leprosy and disability. Besides supporting people affected by leprosy/disability to access to government social welfare schemes, the project builds their capacity to access sustainable livelihood.

Project implementation area


Project period

January 2016 to December 2018

Key achievements

  • 30 community volunteers trained in gender, health, livelihood initiatives, SHG/cooperative society management, adult literacy, leprosy, disability, WASH, participatory rural appraisal (PRA) and community mobilisation.
  • 696 SHGs and 27 cooperative societies functioning independently, and federated at the state level.


Key project staff: Mr Kismat Nanda, Programme Manager