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UK charity changes lives of thousands impacted by leprosy

Leprosy sufferers around the world are being helped by a UK-based charity dedicated to bringing dignity and care to many facing discrimination from their families, as well as the effects of the disease.

St Francis Leprosy Guild (SFLG) has a mission to see leprosy defeated in our lifetime. The charity funds research, hospitals, rehabilitation centres and active case finding projects, and in 2020 supported more than 70,000 people in 30 different projects in 12 countries in Asia, Africa, and South America.

One inspirational project funded by SFLG, thanks to the generosity of its donors, is St Anthony's Leprosy Rehabilitation Centre in Prakasam, Andhra Pradesh, India.

St Anthony's cares for people affected by leprosy (and their dependents) who are neglected and discriminated against by their families and society, due to this devastating disease.    

People affected by leprosy are often alienated by their families and communities. The ostracisation causes isolation, heartbreak and destroys lives. In some countries, even educated people consider that leprosy is a curse, and treat people with the disease as outcasts or untouchables.

Having lost everything – their families, friends, career, home and even their limbs – people with leprosy cannot support themselves. As a result, they are left homeless without proper shelter, food, or clothing and must beg for their survival.

To prevent such human tragedy, St Anthony's cares for people with leprosy and their dependents, and provides shelter, food, medical aid, clothing, shoes, and education for their children.

At present, St Anthony’s cares for 46 leprosy patients: 26 women and 20 men. In addition, there are 19 children whose parents are leprosy affected and five married couples. So, the total number living at St Anthony's is 75.

The staff at St Anthony’s are only too aware of the effect that Covid-19 might have on the health of people affected by leprosy, and everyone who lives in the community is being tested for Covid-19. Thanks to the staff at St Anthony’s and the donors who support this centre, the story for the people affected by leprosy, will be a better one.

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