"I felt sad and alone"

Dinesh lives in a small village in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. He first noticed patches and a slight numbness around his fingers. His father took him to a private health worker but he was misdiagnosed, so his blisters continued to worsen.

One year later, his fingers started to tighten and claw, making it difficult to catch a ball or play marbles.

On seeing my patches, my school friends told me to sit in the back row and not play with them. My family and teachers understood and supported me, but my friends started distancing themselves and so I used to keep my hand hidden in my pocket. I felt sad and very alone.

A ray of hope

Yet there was hope for Dinesh. When a Lepra health camp visited Dinesh’s area, he was diagnosed with leprosy and immediately referred for reconstructive surgery on his hand.

It was at the camp that I saw a ray of hope and felt that surgery could help me.

After his operation Dinesh practised his hand exercises daily to make sure his hand would get better. He attended classes where others were learning to count and write their name.

Dinesh even started to play cricket again and couldn’t wait to show his hand to his parents, teachers, and friends.

It will stop discrimination from my class mates and they will play with me again.

Dreams of the future

Dinesh dreams of one day being a teacher. Now his radiant smile has returned and now he can devote his time to the two things he loves best, learning and cricket.