Leprosy is not a serious disease, but it affects my life in a serious way. I lost my husband because of this disease
Maksuda lives with her daughter and her parents in a small village called Pachimpara, near to the town of Sirajganj, Bangladesh.
Soon after a visit by our team to Maksuda's village to conduct a health awareness campaign, Maksuda noticed a white patch on her hand. This soon became numb, and as Maksuda now knew the symptoms of leprosy, she came to us for support. Maksuda was diagnosed with leprosy and started a six-month course of treatment.
Although Maksuda received treatment for the disease, her life became challenging as soon as her husband discovered that she had leprosy.
After she had been diagnosed, Maksuda was extremely anxious as she was aware of the prejudice surrounding the disease. She feared rejection and isolation as even family members refuse to share food and water with relatives affected by leprosy.
As there were few awareness campaigns on leprosy within the community, Maksuda’s husband believed that the disease was incurable and highly contagious.
In order to protect himself, he divorced her and left her with nothing. As a result of this, Maksuda was forced to move back to her parents’ house with her five-year-old daughter.
Our team heard her story and, thanks to donations from supporters like you, they able to provide her with a sewing machine and training to help her earn an income and secure a place to live.
Luckily, her parents were happy for Maksuda to return to live with them, and so Maksuda was able to focus on providing an income to fund her daughter's education.
Yet despite her own difficult situation, Maksuda explained to our team that she also wanted to do something to help others.
So once her business was up and running, we provided training to support her to become a Community Champion so that she could to help others find out about the disease and access treatment
Maksuda’s tailoring business went from strength to strength and has allowed her to achieve her dream to own a poultry farm.
Today her farm has over 3,000 chickens and she had also started to rear goats and cows.
She now earns enough to support her family and send her daughter to study for a diploma in physiotherapy.
Maksuda now has a new dream: that her daughter will be a physiotherapist and help those in need.
With the help of our staff, Maksuda has set up a self-help group to support people who have been affected by leprosy and other diseases. As treasurer, she provides loans to allow members to start their own businesses too.
She has also continued her role as Community Champion; by raising awareness and referring suspected cases she has helped us to find many new leprosy cases.