India has about 10 million leprosy affected people, who need daily care and support but do not receive them. Even the laws cannot help them in spite of them being good citizens of this country.
There are about 7000 leprosy colonies in India where affected people have made their own settlements due to the social stigma around their disease.
According to a World Health Organisation (WHO), India has reported a steady decline in the number of people with leprosy. A global report from 2015 however states that 60% of the 2,12,000 people detected with leprosy were from India. WHO norms state that leprosy is eliminated only if the prevalence of the disease is less than one case per 10,000 population, a status which India had achieved in 2005. However, the next step is to eradicate the disease from roots and have zero cases reported.
Run to Give, is Marriott International annual charity run, which raised $35,430 in 2017. The brand will now provide an additional helping hand through a fundraiser to Marriott Home Chennai – a branch of the Rising Star Outreach.
Rising Star Outreach started in April 2004 with a small rented home for 27 children from surrounding leprosy colonies now houses close to 350 children. Now officially recognised by the Indian Government, Rising Star has been commended for the high standard of care and excellence maintained in the school as the children prepare to enter mainstream society.
Future Generali India Insurance Company has adopted four padas viz., Kadav Pada, Bhonge Pada, Gawari Pada and Kamat Pada in Palghar district, Maharashtra. With a vision to facilitate integrated and holistic development of the village, the organisation aims to provide access to sanitation, clean water, electricity, adult education and vocational training to the 132 households covering a population of 591 in the adopted padas. This adoption is a part of their CSR programme ‘Sneh’ through which it is committed towards constructing and supporting sustainable solutions for the key issues related to Education, Health and Environment. The project is being executed in association with Lokanayak Jayaprakash Narayan Leprosy Eradication Trust, an organisation dedicated to village uplitfment work across the state.
In 2017, in the bid to shed light upon the social stigma associated with the disease and to spread awareness around it, NDTV Prime, in association with The Leprosy Mission Trust India and Novartis, the global healthcare company organised a special documentary screening on leprosy in the city.
“There are 14-16 laws in the country that actually have provisions that discriminate either directly or indirectly against the people with leprosy,” Dr Sunil Anand, Executive Director, Leprosy Mission Trust, India.
Explaining these laws Justice Ajit Prakash Shah, former Chairman, Law Commission in the documentary said, “All these laws provide infection of leprosy for more than 2-3 years as a legitimate ground for dissolution of marriage.” The documentary also depicts that the law maintenance cost can be denied after separation die to leprosy contraction.
Also the documentary titled ‘The Unwanted’ stated that under the Disabilities Act, 1995, a leprosy affected person with disability does not qualify for jobs under the disability act.
‘The Unwanted’ aimed to shed light onto the sensitive topic and address the stories of those with Leprosy that range from abandonment, discrimination, pain to physical deformation. It also highlighted the need to render human service to those in need and in the process, help create ways to eradicate the spread of the disease.
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The CSR Journal Team