Tumpa showing off a shirt she has made

Tumpa’s leprosy is a thing of the past – thanks to you!

Earlier this year we introduced you to Tumpa.

When she was a teenager, a pale, disfiguring patch appeared on her face. When she couldn’t get rid of it she was afraid of people’s reactions.

Thanks to you she now has a future to look forward to, not be afraid of.

Like teenage girls everywhere, Tumpa took great pride in her appearance. So when a large discoloured, disfiguring patch appeared on her face, she found it incredibly distressing. For years she tried remedy after remedy to try to get rid of it. All without success.

She found a job as an announcer on local radio, so that she wouldn’t have to be seen. But in India, this is an extremely poorly paid job with no prospects for the future.

After years of fear and increasing hopelessness, Tumpa heard about a hospital that might have the answer to the riddle of the marks on her face.

At Purulia Hospital, doctors quickly recognised and diagnosed the marks on her face, and the weakness that had developed in one of her hands and one of her legs, as leprosy. She was prescribed a course of Multi-Drug Therapy to cure her leprosy and was able to go home knowing that she would be cured.

But with the certainty of knowing what was wrong came the fear of what its impact would be?

• How would other people react?
• Would she lose her job?
• What would her family or neighbours say or do?
• Would she be able to stay at home?

Other than her parents she couldn’t tell anyone what was wrong with her.

It was the counsellor at Purulia Hospital who suggested she apply to study at The Leprosy Mission’s Vocational Training Centre, where she would be able to get a qualification that would allow her to find better, secure employment.

She already knew how to sew a little and so enrolled on the Tailoring course.

It is thanks to you the courses for young people affected by leprosy like Tumpa are available.

She graduated from the Vocational Training Centre with a formal qualification and skills that are always in high demand in the many garment factories in Kolkata and elsewhere.

Recruiters from major industries visit the Vocational Training Centre looking for qualified students: welders to build buildings or manufacture cars or machinery, electricians to connect homes and businesses, mechanics to repair cars and trucks, and tailors, like Tumpa, to make clothes for India’s growing population, and for export around the world.

Tumpa was offered one of these jobs and started working at the Kothari Garment Manufacturing company in Kolkota, earning nearly 9,000 rupees per month – the average national wage!

Thanks to you she is cured of her leprosy and has a secure future ahead of her.

For Tumpa, leprosy IS a thing of the past.

Thanks to you, leprosy will be eradiacted, one person at a time – one person like Tumpa.

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7th Oct 2019

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Opinions are the authors own and not necessarily those of The Leprosy Mission Scotland.