Mrs Komola Bibi lives in a small village in the Bogra district of Bangladesh. Thirteen years ago, she was diagnosed with leprosy and started treatment.

Unfortunately the diagnosis and treatment were not early enough to avoid permanent disability in her hands and feet. When her husband found out that she had leprosy, he beat her and eventually left her. She was also isolated from the other people in her village who rejected her because of the visible signs of leprosy. She walked from door to door, begging for food or money.

Eighteen months ago, she joined a Lepra self-help group and has new hope. She is still frightened, but knows that she no longer needs to beg. She rears goats to earn an income and also has a part-time job in a local shop. Her neighbours no longer reject her.

She lives with her brother and sister-in-law but would like to be independent. Our project worker monitors the damage to her hands and feet and has referred her for eye surgery because of a problem with her eyelid. She wears custom-made shoes to improve her walking and to keep her safe from injury as she cannot feel sharp objects.