Fashion designer, businessman, model son: that is Aspe (28), a fairly shy young man who was raised in a leprosy camp by his parents, both of whom suffer from the disease. Asape was always bursting with ambition, but couldn't see a way of leaving the camp. Damien Foundation gave him the opportunity to train as an outfitter. They also gave Asape a sewing machine, with which he immediately set up his own business just outside the camp.
In barely 3 years' time Asape has managed to buy a second sewing machine with the profits. His shop is freshly painted and contains a huge pile of colourful fabrics with which Asape makes his creations. Business is good: so good that he has to hire in help when things get busy.
“Now, thanks to the profits, I can look after my parents”, he says, not without pride. “I visit them every day, bring food and ask if there is anything they need. They are looking better and a lot healthier since I started.”
TEXTS: Wendy Huyghe
PHOTOS: Tim Dirven @T.Dirven for Damien Foundation