Nigeria – Leprosy Still a Stigma

Damien Foundation Nigeria

Right to an Income

Mohammed Baba is a university graduate and had a good job with the Ministry of Education: until he got leprosy, lost his job and was forced to live in a hovel in the leprosy colony in Lagos. “We are entirely dependent on the charity of people who bring us food now and then. But it is far from enough.”

DAMIEN Foundation- 25 years in Negeria - leprosy
Mohammed recently acquired something extra. He got a fridge from Damien Foundation, which allowed him to start up a little business in cold drinks. The money he earns makes life a little more bearable for himself and his friends.

Damien Foundation sends the children of leprosy patients to school and arranges micro-loans for the older children. The results have been positive. A prime example here is Asape. This boy's parents were leprosy patients in the remote leprosy camp in the state Oyo. Asape couldn't see a way out of the camp, until Damien Foundation put him on a clothes making course and gave him a sewing machine. Three years later Asape is a successful businessman and is able to look after his parents. “I visit them every day and bring food. Since then they have both been looking a lot better.”

But a micro-loan isn't always enough to help a person along in life. It doesn't take away the stigma.

TEXTS: Wendy Huyghe
PHOTOS: Tim Dirven @T.Dirven for Damien Foundation


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