The BBC Radio 4 Appeals program is a weekly slot which highlights the work of UK charities. Last Sunday, we were lucky enough to have Victoria Hislop, our ambassador of three years and author of The Island speak about the impact neglected diseases like leprosy can have on children, women and men and what we’re doing to help those affected.

Leprosy does still exist and it is curable

Often regarded as a disease of the past, Victoria highlighted that leprosy does still very much exist and that and millions each day are living with the devastating effects of disability, discrimination, nerve damage and blindness.

Over 600 people each day are diagnosed with leprosy and 50 of those are children

Specifically, Victoria spoke about leprosy in children and shared the story of a young girl named Kajal:

“When Kajal discovered the first patch of numbness on her skin, her family tried to get her help but their village doctors didn’t recognise the symptoms. As time went on, the patches increased in size and number and Kajal was shunned by her community.

Leprosy is an infectious disease that can cause severe disabilities. For many it can mean they can no longer walk, or use their hands and for children it can mean having to drop out of school. I can’t imagine what it’d be like to wake up one day unable to move my hands or feet.

Luckily Lepra was able to diagnose Kajal and start her on a course of treatment before her hands clawed and her feet dropped, but sadly that isn’t the case for everyone.”

You can read more about Kajal’s story here

Didn't catch our appeal? Watch our photo story where Victoria speaks about why she supports our Lepra.