With the summer coming to an end, schools across the UK are reopening for a new term. Many students will be starting a new school, while others will be returning for perhaps their final year. Today 600 people will be diagnosed with leprosy; over 50 of these will be children.

Leprosy has made gaining an education for students such as 13 year old Gulabsha more difficult, physically she was unable to hold a pencil, causing her to drop out of school and she stayed away for almost a year.

Our staff were able to provide Gulabsha with a six month course of multiple-drug treatment. Though she received treatment, Gulabsha was still afraid of the prejudice she could have received from people in her community.

She eventually returned to school, however she was a year behind in her studies.Gulabsha plans to study for an engineering degree.

For children such as Gulabsha, leprosy can slow their progression. Instead of studying, working towards their future careers, leprosy can put a person’s life on hold. Furthermore, the disease will continue to have an impact on a person’s life due to the stigma associated with the leprosy.

We are committed to ending the stigma of leprosy; through our community champions we raise awareness across local communities, helping people to understand how diseases such as leprosy and lymphatic filariasis work, promoting self-care techniques for those affected by these diseases. Through raising awareness, people are more likely to get checked if they notice the symptoms of leprosy, helping us to diagnose and treat the disease at an early stage, preventing life-long disabilities.

For £25 you can help us screen five schools for leprosy, helping to detect cases before they have a significant impact on a child’s life.

Are you currently a student or staff member at a school? You can make a difference, getting your school involved by fundraising for us. Our community fundraisers can organise an educational presentation to help raise awareness at your school, and help with fundraising.