The Danusha jewellery story began in 2007 when British couple, Sue and Mike Lavender, moved to Nepal to work with Nepal Leprosy Trust. They spent a lot of time at Lalgadh Hospital, the world’s largest leprosy treatment centre.
While Mike concentrated on his work as a public health doctor, Sue got involved in community development work. She helped rehabilitate patients by finding skills training and education programmes. One of these projects involved training in jewellery making for women who were receiving treatment at the hospital.
Sue and Mike returned to the UK in 2009 but kept in touch with the project in Nepal and within a year Danusha was born. The name comes from the area where the hospital is based.
A small group of women whose lives have been affected by leprosy make unique jewellery which is sold in Nepal and the UK.
Sue says: “Making the jewellery and selling it is just a small part of what we do. The project is all about empowering these women.”
There’s a small micro-credit scheme attached to the project. Danusha workers use this to build up savings and can apply to the fund for short-term financial support. Loans have been used to buy goats, to set up a snack stall, and to buy medicine for chickens. Group members decide among themselves whether to grant a loan application.