Leprosy is a curable disease. But persons affected by leprosy around the world continue to face serious stigma and discrimination. In South Sulawesi, Indonesia, leprosy is still common and often people are stigmatised and excluded from community life.
One of them is old Mr. Lepu. He had leprosy many years ago, which is now cured thanks to modern medicine. But it left him with deformed hands and feet because he was treated late after hiding his condition for too long due to shame and fear of being excluded from community. With these visible signs of leprosy, the deformations, people continued to treat him as outcast. He never married – nobody wanted to marry him, says Mr Lepu. He lives alone in a tiny shaky hut on poles. The hut is so unstable that we did not dare to enter, worrying the hut could collapse. There is an intense stench in the air: neighbours direct their waste water onto Mr Lepus’ piece of land, because it is convenient, he won’t complain. He is powerless, thankful the people haven’t chased him away yet. He depends on some relatives who bring him food when they have leftovers, since he can no longer work to make a living for himself.
25 August 2020. Thanks to YOU ALL, we were able to raise the funds we need to built a new home for Mr Lepu!! Thank you everybody very much! Last Friday two members of our team went to Mr Lepu’s village in the district Jeneponto, to talk to him, to a relative and the village head. They are all really happy and couldn’t believe we managed to get this money. We discussed how the new house should look like and Mr Lepu said he would much prefer it to be on ground level, not on poles anymore, because he can’t climb up and down. The relative suggested a different plot of land, away from the smelly, unhealthy water pipe. And the village head promised to organize community help to help building the house, which is really great as it will raise awareness about the situation of people affected by leprosy. We are no preparing everything and will start building end of August / early September. We keep you informed!
14 October 2020. The house is finished and Dg Lepu has moved last week! Today one of our team went to see how his has settled in. He is overjoyed and said it was just in time as rain started and he got wet in his old house, catching a bad cold. He still had a fever today so we organised some drugs for him. Also we will still purchase some few little things like a pillow and a bucket. There is also still an issue with the waterpump but his family will solve this. Apart from this, all is good, Dg Lepu and we are grateful for your support!!!!
See the full report here