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Aklima Begum

Real life stories

Aklima Begum's story

Aklima Begum

Aklima Begum

33 year old Aklima Begum lives with her husband and two school-age children in Bangladesh’s Nilphamari district.

Aklima was diagnosed with lymphatic filariasis (LF) during childhood which has caused severe swelling in her legs and feet. Since her diagnosis, her husband’s relatives have made her feel unwelcome and she has fought to remain with the family.

Aklima received support from our Disability Initiative for Independent Living (DIIL) project which works to reduce the physical, psychological, financial and social impact of people affected by lymphatic filariasis and leprosy. With funding and support from DIIL, Aklima was able to set up a small holding enabling her to provide for her family. Things were going well for Aklima and she was able take on three goats and three cows from another family to  help her maintain a livelihood.

Aklima also became the leader of the region’s self-support group, helping to educate others in the community affected by LF.

Devastatingly, disaster struck when Aklima’s home and small holding were ravaged by fire, killing all the livestock. Aklima’s husband was working away at the time; she was awoken at midnight by the smell of smoke and desperately rescued her two daughters.

“I do not know how the fire happened. The livestock I took on are dead, I do not know how I will solve this issue. My dream has been destroyed in a few moments!”

Neighbours have kindly provided Aklima and her family with temporary shelter.

The self-support group are working to help Aklima rebuild her home and livelihood as well as providing ongoing physical and mental health support.

“It is a very difficult time for me as well as my family. With Lepra’s support, I hope to once again live with dignity.”

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