Fighting Leprosy Everyday with Courage
Malti Paswan, 55 year aged living with 3 daughters in Ram Nagar Colony and her husband died 20 years before
Malti grew up in a poor family where the source of income was through begging. She got married when she was only 15 years old. By then she didn’t have any complaints. The first symptoms started when she was 20, her legs and feet felt numb and she experienced pain attacks. She was diagnosed with leprosy in the local hospital and received proper treatment. Luckily her husband supported her throughout treatment. By that time she became mother of 3 beautiful daughters.
Both she and her husband were illiterate and couldn’t get paid work. Their source of income was through begging only. When her husband died 10 years after her diagnosis, Malti had to take care of her three daughters by herself. This was the most difficult period, she didn’t have any social contacts to help her. She had lost her friends and family when she got diagnosed with leprosy and her surroundings were avoiding her because of the deformities. This proves how big the social stigma on leprosy still is…
Seven years ago Malti learnt about the existence of the Ram Nagar leprosy colony. She decided to move there in the hope to receive more acceptance and understanding. This turned out to be good decision, in this colony she feels safe and happy. She has a lot of friends here, quite opposite to her previous situation.
Besides these social struggles, Malti also experienced issues because of her deformities, until a couple of years ago, she was having pain attacks in her feet while she was walking. Luckily this pain is almost gone since the NLRF provides her with MCR-shoes. These shoes are made of Micro Cellular Rubber which supports the feet to prevent pressure points or wounds. Besides using the shoes, Malti also participates in a Self-Care Group. Here she learns how to take care of her feet.
The delay between the first rising symptoms and the start of the treatment is the reason both her hands and feet are badly deformed. With such deformities in her hands, it seems almost impossible to do the household chores properly. Yet Malti proves her grit , courage & fighting spirit by showing how much she can manage to do with her deformed hands.
The tools of the NLRF are simple but smart inventions which can be very helpful for patients without any function of the fingers.
Malti told that “mere haatho mei ajeeb sa dard hota tha jab bhi ghar k , rasoi k kaam karti hu , self care seekhne se, mujhe pta chal gya h kise haatho k dhyan rakhna hai dard se bachne ke liye” , when translating it into English it means “My hands become quite sore after home cleansing or cooking. Through my participation in the Self Care Group, I have learned some tricks to release the pain”