Nilu is 45 and lives in a small village in Bogra District, Bangladesh. She was treated for leprosy more than 10 years ago.
For much of this time Nilu suffered with ulcers, the result of nerve damage caused by her body's reaction to the leprosy bacteria. This left her unable to work for long periods at a time. Three years ago she met Lepra. Since then her life has changed dramatically:
“If it wasn’t for Lepra, I would have to work in the field as a labourer and the ulcers would come back. Either that or I would be a beggar. ”
Nilu attends regular Lepra self-help group meetings in her village. At the meetings she and other members learn how to prevent ulcers like the ones that previsouly blighted Nilu's life. The groups also promote financial independence and income generation.
“I was given a loan and also put in my own money. This allowed me to buy a small village shop. I make around 50 taka per day (40p) and so far I have paid 500 taka (£4) of my loan back.”
Nilu's ulcers mean that she can't walk far. Running a shop is the perfect occupation for her. She uses the profit to buy rice to feed herself and her son.
Nilu looks sad when she explains that her husband died last February and she looks after nine year old Bijoy alone.
It has been tough since he died.
Speaking about her hope for the future Nilu says that she would like to continue to invest in her shop. You can ensure that Lepra is there to help when she needs it.