In Sarita’s own words:
“When I was 10 years old, I developed white patches on my body. All I knew was that I had a skin problem. When I was 16, I started getting ulcers, and then I knew that I had leprosy. Village people started discriminating against me because of my ulcers. My friends withdrew from me and didn’t want to be associated with me. I even had to stop going to school.
People stopped coming to our house. They stopped speaking to me and my parents. They didn’t involve any of us socially, and they avoided us. It was very upsetting for my parents as well. Community people stopped respecting them.
My uncle heard about Lalgadh Leprosy hospital which is supported by American Leprosy Missions, and suggested that I go there so I could get proper treatment. When I came there, all of the doctors, nurses and staff treated me with love. I felt respected. I was surprised by the difference. My own community wouldn’t even touch me. Here the people were kind and loved me and weren’t afraid to touch me”
Sarita is now working at Largadh Leprosy Hospital Services Centre counselling others who are suffering from the disease of, and stigma associated with, leprosy. I have spent some time last week working alongside this wonderful lady, January 2018.
This is an extract from her interview with American Leprosy Mission. Watch her video below or read the full interview on https://www.leprosy.org/patient-stories/sarita/