Like many rural Nepalis, Rekha doesn’t know how old she is. She lives with her husband, Sanjay, in a small village called Hariharpur. The couple met and fell in love when they were both patients at Lagadh Leprosy Services Hospital.
When Rekha was 8 years old she burnt her left hand and foot. She developed ulcers and went to a faith healer who couldn’t cure her. He referred her to Lalgadh Hospital where leprosy was diagnosed, though Rekha wasn’t told about this. Her father told her that she had a ‘big disease’ and that she needed to take medicine. After treatment her stepmother told Rekha that she had leprosy and that no one would want to marry her. Her stepmother refused to give Rekha food and was unkind to her.
Counsellors at Lalgadh Hospital gave lots of support and encouragement and slowly the family situation improved. Rekha attended regular sessions at the hospital, and in 2009 she met Sanjay there. He was also receiving treatment for leprosy.
Rekha joined Danusha in 2010 and has really grown in confidence since then. She’s very creative, shows a lot of initiative and we’re delighted that she’s part of our project. Sanjay also works for Danusha and it’s lovely to see this couple so happy and content. They had their first baby in 2012 and run a small snack stall in the bazaar near their home.
Rekha enjoys her work at Danusha. Her economic condition has improved, she’s saving money and can also make her own necklaces to sell on her snack stall. Rekha says: “I’m very happy that I’m learning new skills.”