The 18th to the 24th September marks Global Goals week. One year on from the official agreement of the 17 Global Goals for sustainable development, this week’s aim is to reignite the awareness of the goals and to encourage world leaders to stick to their promises and get the job done.

What are we doing?

We’re doing a lot in different areas of our work to support the Global Goals, here are just a few examples of how we’re contributing:

Goal 1 – No poverty

As well as helping people affected by neglected disease, we do everything we can to help them rebuild their lives, earn a living and participate fully in a supportive community. For example, our shoe technicians custom-make hundreds of pairs of shoes for people affected by leprosy and lymphatic filariasis (LF). The shoes have microcellular rubber soles so that people can walk to work pain and injury free, allowing them to continue to earn a living and support their families.

Our staff also ensure that people aware of their rights. We help people with applications for governmental support to which they are rightfully entitled. These small allowances and pensions make a huge difference to those living in poverty.

Goal 3 – Good health and well-being

Self-care at St Josephs referral centreOur staff visit communities and schools to educate people to dispel myths, reduce stigma, and increase knowledge and awareness about diseases and the importance of early detection. These vital health education programmes enable people to recognise symptoms and overcome the fear of stigma, giving people more confidence to get the help they need.

We also teach and encourage self-care practices and good hygiene, improving people’s health by helping them to manage and control the symptoms and effects of disease.

Goal 5 – Gender equality

Reconstructive surgery transforms lives by reducing both the visible signs and the disabilities attached to leprosy. There is usually a long waiting list for procedures; however we give priority to woman who are threatened with divorce or ostracised in their community to help prevent any further ill-treatment.

Goal 8 – Decent work and economic growth

Disability caused by disease, combined with stigma and prejudice from others, can severely limit people’s ability to earn a living and provide for their families.

Our experienced physiotherapists help people manage their disabilities as well as training people in pre and post-operative exercises if they are to undergo reconstructive surgery. The support they provide enables people to overcome their disabilities, so that they can once again provide for their families or return to school.

We also support self-help groups, where people are taught new skills and provided with small loans enabling them to start their own businesses.

Goal 10 – Reduced inequalities

We take our health education programmes to areas with low levels of literacy. In areas like these leaflets aren’t always the most effective way to spread our messages, therefore our staff employ imaginative and innovative ways to share information such as through theatre, songs and films. This allows us to get our messages across in a way that includes everyone.

Our mobile outreach clinics also allow us to take essential life-changing services to the people who may not be able to travel to a referral centre to access them due to disability or poverty.