Neglected no more - because I matter.

Strengthening Self-Help Groups

Location: Nepal
Program Length: July 2016 to June 2019
2018 Fundraising Need: $51,000 Donate now

Why the Program Exists: In Nepal, one of the most marginalized groups in society are people with disabilities. Some in this group have leprosy and Lymphatic Filariasis (LF), diseases that often cause people to feel ashamed. Most are unlikely to seek help for fear of stigma. However, waiting too long to seek help leads to permanent disability and economic insecurity. Treatment is more than just a medical issue.

Self-Help Groups are effective at helping people with leprosy and LF find confidence again. The support from the group encourages affected people to use self-care techniques to manage or prevent further disabilities. The group format also establishes a strong support system based on mutual understanding.

Self-care is incredibly important both for patients with leprosy and LF. The Self-Help Group Strengthening program targets people affected by either disease in endemic regions to improve their long-term health and well-being.

What We Do:
• Identify new cases of leprosy and LF
• Provide necessary treatment, rehabilitation devices and surgery
• Establish Self-Help Groups in communities and micro-credit plans for members to generate income
• Provide training on self-care techniques
• Train health workers and facilitators to provide continued support

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Program Impact:
From July 2016 to October 2017, we conducted the following activities:
• Provided 326 people in Self-Help Groups with self-care techniques specifically for LF
• Conducted 100 self-care training sessions with Self-Help Groups
• Trained and equipped 155 Self-Help Group facilitators
• Provided 36 people with specialized footwear
• Made 124 supervisory visits to established Self-Help Group
• Conducted 69 meetings with government officials to advocate for better service for people with leprosy and LF
• Established 30 micro-credit projects

“Self-care saved my life” – a Self-Help Group beneficiary.
One of the patients in our Self-Help Group had ulcers for many years and was always in and out of the hospital. Through the techniques he learned in the group, he was able to heal his ulcers by practicing self-care every day. With better health and the new knowledge he received, he switched his occupation from being a labourer to an administrator. The switch helps him better manage his disability and the associated pain.

Other members of Self-Help Groups found that they have a voice in their community again. Many of them have been accepted back into their community.

“People in the community don’t use bad words for ‘leprosy’ anymore, because of our group,” said a Self-Help Group beneficiary.

These positive results and the new acceptance from the community encourage us to push forward with strengthening Self-Help Groups in Nepal. Leprosy and LF do not stop affecting a person after they are cured. A Self-Help Group will provide continuous care, improved quality of life, and support for a person affected by leprosy and LF.

People with disabilities can learn to care for themselves and live a full life. They just need your help.

Our Partner:
Nepal Leprosy Trust – Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital and Services Centre

Your gift will go towards:
• Running 100 Self-Help Group sessions per year
• Training and equipping 171 Self-Help Group facilitators
• Teaching and encouraging people with disabilities to use self-care techniques daily and how to participate in community life
• Improving self-esteem and confidence in women and men with leprosy and LF
• Raising awareness of leprosy and LF to reduce stigma and improve overall health and well-being in endemic communities