Make the dinner, wash the clothes, pack the football kits…these are all the things many women dutifully do as mothers, not because they enjoy picking up the snotty tissues or sewing the scuffed up trousers but, because as mothers it’s what they do.  They are there to love, support and care for their children…but what happens when something gets in the way of that, or makes it difficult or nearly impossible even?

For many at home and overseas, this is the case. Many women struggle to provide the basics for their child because they are battling an illness and living in poverty. As well as the physical ailments of a disease, when it’s leprosy, there’s the added stigma, potential divorce from your husband, possible domestic abuse and the out casting of your friends to deal with.

This is the situation for many mothers in India, Bangladesh and Mozambique who have contracted leprosy and struggle to care for themselves and their children. This Mother’s Day, we want to highlight their plight and raise awareness so that women may be diagnosed quicker, treated sooner and get back to motherhood without the worry of poverty and prejudice.

We work to raise awareness so that the stigma may be reduced making women feel more comfortable in coming forward to be treated. The longer they wait to be treated the more likely it is that a permanent disability will set in as a result of the disease. With a disability it can be even harder to care for your kids.

Kalpana was a mother living on less than 80p a day whilst trying to provide for her daughter when she was diagnosed with leprosy.  Living in India and married at the age of 17 to an army officer, Kalpana was often left alone but, on one of her husband’s visits home, he noticed darker patches on her body and realised that she had leprosy. He was angry that her family had kept this from him at the time of their wedding because of the significant stigma surrounding the disease. Did she have a curse or had she done something terrible in her past life? He started to beat her and eventually, five years later, she ended up in hospital with a broken leg.  When she arrived back home her belongings had been thrown out of the house along with her four-year old daughter.

From that point she struggled even more to provide that basic care for her daughter but, after seeking help from Lepra, she was able to access treatment and no longer has leprosy. She has now set up a small business and Kalpana and her daughter are living a happy and healthy life.

On Mother’s Day, we’re praising the many women worldwide who are mothers in the face of true adversity.

Find out how you can help make a difference by visiting our fundraising page.