Sakshi was just 10 years old when she noticed the little finger on her right hand had become swollen and painful. After a few weeks, her whole hand had become numb and she was having trouble gripping her pencil. Her classmates noticed and started to bully her, calling her "lulli"; a derogatory term for someone who is disabled. Eventually, unable to keep up with her class work, Sakshi had to stop going to school.
Sakshi's worried parents took her to the health centre in her village, Tetia Bamber. However, due to a lack of training at the health centre, she was misdiagnosed and prescribed drugs that didn't actually treat her condition. Tragically, Sakshi carried on with the treatment for a whole year at a cost of over Rs 20,800 (£200); money her family could barely afford.
Seeing no improvement in her condition, Sakshi's family took her to see an orthopaedic surgeon who referred her to the district hospital. Sakshi was finally diagnosed with leprosy. Thankfully, she was immediately sent to Lepra's referral centre in Munger. There, she was prescribed a 12 month course of steroids and multi-drug treatment that helped turn her life around. With physiotherapy, Sakshi soon regained the strength and flexibility in her hand. Now she's able to grip a pen and write once again.
For one so young, Sakshi has had to endure a great deal. For a whole year, she experienced the painful effects of leprosy, missing out on her education and her childhood.
What's more, her family had to pay for expensive but incorrect treatment. However, after diagnosis and through our staff's expert care at the Munger referral centre - Sakshi was treated in time to prevent any permanent disability setting in.
Today, Sakshi has returned to the life she knew before. Happy with the results of her treatment, she has gone back to school to continue her studies. Her dream to become a teacher is once again within her grasp.
Now Sakshi can write again, she wanted to write a letter to Lepra to say thank you:
This translates to:
Ajay Kumani (Sakshi's father)
Tetiya Bozaan, Munger