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A Sustainable Future - Supporting Creative Initiatives

18 September 2023

As a person-centred organisation, working holistically to support individuals in their own community, our work goes far beyond the physical recovery of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) such as leprosy and lymphatic filariasis. 

Much of our work focuses on the emotional recovery, which is increasingly recognised as a vital component of programme design, particularly for neglected tropical diseases, which attract unequally damaging prejudice which overwhelmingly affects the most vulnerable and already marginalised members of society. 

Many people are aware of psychologist Abraham Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Need’, a theory of psychological health, proposed in 1954. In essence, for an individual to realise and then fulfil their potential, they must first have their most fundamental needs met. Lepra’s holistic approach allows people affected by NTDs to build a stronger foundation following diagnosis and recovery, helping individuals to achieve personal growth and develop a stronger sense of self-esteem.  

Lepra’s concept of community ‘self-support groups’ (SSGs), provides a sustainable structure of support, which is vital for people’s physical, emotional and social recovery. Following diagnosis, many people will be forced into unemployment, losing vital income to support their family.  

This also has a significant impact on people’s confidence and self-esteem, which can increasingly contribute toward poor mental health.  

Over time, our network of local groups and federations, have begun to develop their own grassroots strategies, to allow their members to generate new income, through creative and entrepreneurial initiatives such as the ‘Pabna Federation of People affected by Leprosy and LF’ in Bangladesh. 

There is limited financial support available from the government for disabled people, so finding ways to improve income, can help enormously. The Federation’s new pilot project, is giving women the funding and tools to develop their own self-sustaining, creative enterprises. Women like Jeba, and Dilruba.  

To find creative outlets, such as making beautiful fabric and garments and intricate home decorations, not only proves additional income, but also a greater sense of confidence and self-esteem.  

Despite only having the use of one hand, Dilruba’s extraordinary resilience, imagination and dexterity, is helping her to regain her financial independence and helping her to take control of her situation.  

“I am saving to help my daughter gain an education. If I can earn more, my daughter can study to a higher level and be successful in life.” 

A Sustainable Future

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