Our women-led Jagruti projects in India and Nepal train women to change their communities through clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) as well as community education about neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) like leprosy.
One of the easiest ways for these women to communicate with their neighbors is through self-help groups. Members of these groups support each other with loans for housing or business projects, advocating for disability awareness, and more. In these groups, people affected by leprosy develop encouraging relationships and find opportunities to improve their livelihoods.
Palti Devi and her husband live in Nepal, in a district where our Jagruti project is working. Palti was first diagnosed with leprosy over 10 years ago: she noticed red patches on her left arm and she was able to get the multidrug cure from a hospital.
But a year ago, Palti lost sensation in her left leg. Even so many years later, the effects of leprosy on her body continue. As she noticed these problems with her leg, Palti also joined a self-help group of 44 people. The group gave her a loan to buy livestock to generate additional income. Now, during her group meetings, Palti is learning about self-care exercises that help her limbs stay strong and mobile, even when she loses sensation.
“I feel light… like I have some relief,” she said after performing the exercises. “Before this training I just massaged my legs with oil.”
Thanks to your generous support, the Jagruti women leaders are connecting with Palti and thousands of others in self-help groups or in their own homes. The Jagruti project meets people affected by leprosy or other NTDs, records information about their health and disabilities, and connects them to available services and care. By educating their neighbors about sanitation and hygiene and connecting them with local health care facilities, the Jagruti leaders are making a huge impact in their communities.
Thank you for supporting their important work!