Published 07/11/2018

Diwali is the festival of light, encouraging light to overcome the darkness in the world, good triumphing over evil, knowledge enlightening the ignorant.

The most commonly accepted tradition of the festival comes from the Hindu epic Ramayana, where Prince Rama defeats Ravana, the Demon King to rescue his wife. Villagers then began to light the way to guide the Prince and his wife home. The bond between the pair can show the strength between husband and wife.

In 2016 Ruby’s bond with her husband was tested. Ruby and her husband travelled nearly 50 miles every week to our Cuttack referral centre for Ruby to receive medicine for her leprosy. Unfortunately, Ruby had a more complicated strain of leprosy which required steroids to help treat the disease.

Our staff provided both Ruby and her husband with counselling, which Ruby found helpful and helped her husband to understand and support her needs. This had helped to make a huge difference as many women affected by leprosy can cause their partner to leave or abuse them.

Ruby continued to worry that other people in her community would discriminate against her for having leprosy, however our staff talked her through how to handle the discrimination and how to help others understand that leprosy can be treated.

Your support can help us to fight the prejudice associated with leprosy, and help more people like Ruby. For as little as £4 a month we can help to set up three self-help groups for a year.

Our self-help groups provide a safe space for people affected by leprosy, raising awareness around communities about how leprosy can be treated and cured. This helps to reduce the prejudice associated with leprosy as myths such as leprosy is a curse can be dispelled.

With your help we can end prejudice against people affected by leprosy as well as fighting the disease. This will lead to more coming forward to be diagnosed and treated, helping us towards a day when we can finally #BeatLeprosy.