As her condition worsened, ulcers began covering her face, she suffered hair loss and her hands became weak and disfigured. Shakila’s mother took her to the local doctor, who misdiagnosed her condition, a common problem in leprosy diagnosis. Five years later and still without treatment, 12 year-old Shakila covered her face with a scarf and alienated herself from the people who branded her ‘diseased’.
'I wanted to die. I had nothing to live for and I was a burden to my parents.' - Shakila
Just when Shakila and her family were giving up hope, Sarita, a Lepra co-ordinator came to their village to deliver a leprosy awareness raising campaign. From that day, their lives changed.
As children and elders from the village flocked to the Lepra van, Sarita noticed Shakila’s veiled figure standing afar. Sarita sought out Shakila and decided to take her straight to the hospital.
Shakila started on a 12-month antibiotic treatment, and slowly but surely her face cleared up, her hair started to regrow, and she stopped covering her face and head. Shakila’s family could not believe that she had recovered. They also could not believe that the treatment from Lepra had been provided free of charge.
Now, every time Sarita visits the village, Shakila joyfully greets her with a warm hug.